Iterative vs. Recursive coding

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVE-THIS-cybersource.com.au
Fri Aug 20 02:26:45 CEST 2010


On Thu, 19 Aug 2010 22:00:16 +0000, Martin Gregorie wrote:

> Recursion can be quite a trick to get your mind round at first

Really? Do people actually find the *concept* of recursion to be tricky?

If I remember correctly, my puzzlement about recursion lasted about 15 
seconds. I remember thinking "How does the function foo know that there 
is a function foo when foo doesn't fully exist yet?", but once I accepted 
the fact that it just does it all just seemed obvious. Getting recursion 
*right* is sometimes tricky, but the idea itself isn't.

But then, I grew up watching Doctor Who, and had no problem with the idea 
that the TARDIS could materialise *inside itself*. And from a very early 
age, I was familiar with a particular brand of Advocaat liquor where the 
label on the bottle contained a picture of a rooster holding a bottom of 
Advocaat, whose label contained a picture of a rooster holding a bottle 
of Advocaat, whose label contained a picture of a rooster holding a 
bottle, whose label ... well, you can see where that is going.


-- 
Steven



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