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C - Recursive Function



A function which can call itself is known as recursive function. A recursive function generally ends with one or more boundary conditions which defines exit conditions from the function, otherwise it will go into an infinite loop.

Example: Factorial of a number

The factorial of a positive integer is the multiplication of all positive integer less than or equal to that number.

factorial of number n = n! = n(n-1)(n-2)...1

In the example below, a recursive function called factorial() is used to calculate factorial of a number.

#include <stdio.h>

static int factorial(int);

static int factorial(int x) {
  if (x == 0 || x == 1)
    {return 1;}
  else 
    {return x*factorial(x-1);}    
}

int main() {
  printf("3! =  %i\n", factorial(3));
  printf("5! =  %i\n", factorial(5));
  printf("10! =  %i\n", factorial(10));
}

The output of the above code will be:

3! =  6
5! =  120
10! =  3628800

Example: Fibonacci Sequence

Fibonacci terms are generally represented as Fn. A Fibonacci term is the sum of two previous terms and starts with 0 and 1. Mathematically, it can be represented as:

Fn = Fn-1 + Fn-2

With boundary conditions: F0 = 0 and F1 = 1

The Fibonacci Sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233...

In the example below, a recursive function called fib() is created to find out the nth term of Fibonacci sequence.

#include <stdio.h>

static int fib(int);

static int fib(int n) {
  if (n == 0)
    {return 0;}
  else if (n == 1)
    {return 1;}
  else
    {return fib(n-1) + fib(n-2);}
}

int main() {
  printf("Fibonacci 5th term: %i\n",fib(5));
  printf("Fibonacci 6th term: %i\n",fib(6));
  printf("Fibonacci 7th term: %i\n",fib(7));
}

The above code will give the following output:

Fibonacci 5th term: 5
Fibonacci 6th term: 8
Fibonacci 7th term: 13

❮ C - Functions

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