Python Jumpstart by Building 10 Apps Transcripts
Chapter: App 8: File Searcher App
Lecture: Core concept: Recursion

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0:01 Here is a mathematical computation that is defined iteratively
0:04 and that makes it very natural to define it as a recursive function,
0:08 the factorial of number n is just n times the factorial of the smaller number
0:13 until you get down to a pre defined number that has a factorial known
0:18 and where the factorial of 1 is defined to be 1.
0:21 We are taking this function factorial and we are calling it again
0:24 within itself with slightly different parameters
0:28 and we need to make sure that there is somewhere along the way
0:31 some kind of test where we no longer call the function recursively
0:35 so that is kind of like our if we are if we are remodeling this as a loop
0:38 this is how we would like break out out of the loop,
0:41 but in recursion, we just return from the function without doing more of recursion,
0:45 let's look at this visually.
0:47 Here we are going to take factorial of 3,
0:49 that's going to return 3 times whatever the factorial of 2 is,
0:53 and when we call factorial of 2 we actually are back in the same function
0:57 but now entirely different data
0:58 so now we are going to say well factorial of 2 is going to be defined
1:01 to be 2 times factorial of 1 when I pass one down but remember,
1:05 the factorial of 1 is just 1 and as we work our way back
1:08 we pass 1 up we do 2 * 1 and that's 2 and we pass the 2 back
1:13 and we say 3 * 2 and that is 6 which gives us our answer.
1:16 This is one of the core concepts of computer science and computer programming,
1:20 it's not used super often but when it is used it so perfectly aligns
1:26 with the types of problems you are solving,
1:28 if you are dealing with hierarchical data structures
1:30 or you are dealing with these iteratively defined algorithms,
1:33 recursion may be what you need.