Python Jumpstart by Building 10 Apps Transcripts
Chapter: App 8: File Searcher App
Lecture: Recursion factorial example

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0:00 So let's take a step back from application for a moment
0:03 and just open this empty file called play for play around,
0:06 where we can just play around with some ideas.
0:08 We'll do this for recursion but we also do this for our generator methods later.
0:12 Let's take a really simple case something like creating the factorial of a number.
0:16 Now remember, factorials are sort of iterative processes.
0:21 The factorial written with like a number and an exclamation point right
0:25 so like let's say 5! = 120
0:29 and the way that you get that is you take 5*4*3*2*1
0:37 and each step if I start here the thing I need to multiply is
0:42 the number minus 1 times the rest of the factorial
0:46 and then form here I need to multiply it by that smaller number minus 1
0:51 times the rest of the factorial
0:52 and I keep doing that until I get down to 1 and then I stop.
0:55 So this turns out to be really easily modeled with this concept called recursion.
1:00 So let's look at this in code
1:02 and then we'll look at this conceptually
1:04 and we'll go back and apply this to our searching app.
1:07 So here we have this factorial function, empty,
1:10 but it's going to return the number which is the factorial
1:13 so here I have pre loaded the few, we'll compute 5, 3 and 11 factorial
1:18 and these numbers grow tremendously large in a hurry.
1:22 So remember the way you take the factorial,
1:24 is you want to take the number in this case we are going to have n
1:29 and we want to multiply it by the factorial of the smaller piece of the stuff to the right,
1:35 and we kind of keep building that up and it turns out that
1:38 we can say we want those factorial to be n times
1:42 and we can call the same method within itself with different parameters,
1:46 so for this step from here is just going to be whatever that is times 5,
1:51 so n*factorial (n-1) now if we do it like this
1:54 we are going to end up in a stack overflow situation,
1:57 it's going to keep calling this function over and over and over
2:00 until it just runs out of space.
2:04 So once we get down to one we are going to stop
2:06 and we just say 1! is defined to be 1,
2:09 so we'll say something like if n is 1 return 1
2:15 otherwise we are going to come down here and do this we'll just say
2:19 return n*factorial (n-1) so let's run this,
2:25 now this one this should be 120,
2:30 this one I know should be 6, this one should be huge,
2:35 I don't know what factorial of 11 is
2:37 but I know it is much larger than you expect,
2:40 so let's run this and see how it works.
2:42 Awesome, 5! is 120, 3! is 6 and 11! is some big number,
2:46 now we don't like to look at numbers like this, right,
2:49 we like separators,
2:51 so we can actually do that by putting colon comma on all of these,
2:56 will make a difference on the small ones but on the larger one
2:59 you can see we now have separated those with digit grouping.
3:03 So this is a recursive algorithm, let's take a moment
3:06 and look at this as it's one of our core concepts.