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noun, Mathematics, Computers.
the process of defining a function or calculating a number by the repeated application of an algorithm.
the act or process of returning or running back
(logic, maths) the application of a function to its own values to generate an infinite sequence of values. The recursion formula or clause of a definition specifies the progression from one term to the next, as given the base clause f(0) = 0, f(n + 1) = f(n) + 3 specifies the successive terms of the sequence f(n) = 3n
mathematics, programming
When a function (or procedure) calls itself. Such a function is called “recursive”. If the call is via one or more other functions then this group of functions are called “mutually recursive”.
If a function will always call itself, however it is called, then it will never terminate. Usually however, it first performs some test on its arguments to check for a “base case” – a condition under which it can return a value without calling itself.
The canonical example of a recursive function is factorial:
factorial 0 = 1 factorial n = n * factorial (n-1)
Functional programming languages rely heavily on recursion, using it where a procedural language would use iteration.
See also recursion, recursive definition, tail recursion.
[Jargon File]


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