Science Knowings: JavaScript Course For Social Media


Memoization to Recursion

Welcome! We've just covered Memoization, a powerful technique for optimizing repeated computations.

Let's now delve into Recursion, a different but equally fascinating approach to solving problems. Get ready to explore the world of recursive functions!

Recursion Defined


Recursion is a programming technique where a function calls itself within its own definition. It's a self-referential approach where a problem is divided into smaller subproblems of the same type.

Why Recursion?

Recursion can simplify complex problems by breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks. It often leads to elegant and concise code, especially for problems with recursive structures (e.g., trees, graphs).

The Call Stack

Call Stack

When a function calls itself, a new instance of that function is created and pushed onto the call stack. Each instance has its own set of arguments and local variables.

Recursive Functions

Anatomy of a Recursive Function

  1. Base Case: A condition that stops the recursion and provides the final result.
  2. Recursive Case: The function calls itself with modified arguments, bringing it closer to the base case.

Implementing Recursion

function factorial(num) {
  if (num === 0) {
    return 1;
  } else {
    return num * factorial(num - 1);

Benefits of Recursion

  • Elegant Code: Recursion can simplify complex algorithms, resulting in more readable and maintainable code.
  • Problem Decomposition: Recursion naturally breaks down problems into smaller subproblems, making it easier to solve them.

Drawbacks of Recursion

  • Stack Overflow: Excessive recursion can exhaust the call stack, leading to a stack overflow error.
  • Performance: Recursion can be less efficient than iterative approaches for some problems, especially when subproblems overlap.

Tail Recursion

Tail Recursion

Tail recursion occurs when the recursive call is the last action in the function. This allows the compiler to optimize the recursion, avoiding excess stack consumption.

Common Applications of Recursion

  • Tree Traversal: Recursion is commonly used to traverse and process tree data structures.
  • Factorials and Fibonacci Numbers: Recursion provides a straightforward way to calculate factorials and Fibonacci numbers.

Recursion in Problem Solving

Recursion shines in solving problems that have recursive structures or involve self-similarity, such as:

  • Sorting and searching algorithms (e.g., quicksort, merge sort)
  • Dynamic programming problems (e.g., Fibonacci series, knapsack problem)

Types of Recursion

Direct RecursionThe function calls itself directly.
Indirect RecursionThe function calls itself through another function.

Mutual Recursion

Mutual recursion occurs when two or more functions call each other. Each function depends on the result of the other.

Nested Recursion

Nested recursion occurs when a recursive function calls itself multiple times within its definition. This can create multiple layers of recursion.

Recursion vs Iteration

SimplicityOften simpler to writeMay be more verbose
PerformanceCan be less efficientGenerally more efficient
Memory UsageCan lead to stack overflowLess memory intensive

Memoization vs Recursion

Next up, we'll compare Memoization and Recursion. Both techniques are used for solving problems, but they have different advantages and drawbacks.

Stay tuned to learn more about these powerful approaches! Follow us for updates.