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# How can we create recursive functions in Python?

Recursion is a programming technique, in which a function calls itself one or more times in its body. Usually, it is returning the return value of this function call. If a function definition follows recursion, we call this function a recursive function.

A recursive function has to be terminated before it can be used in a program. It terminates, if, with every recursive call, the solution of the problem becomes smaller and moves towards a base case, where the problem can be solved without further recursion. A recursion can lead to an infinite loop, if the base case is not met in the calls.

We use recursive functions in Python to solve real world math problems.

## Sum of First n Natural Numbers

The following code returns the sum of the first n natural numbers using a recursive Python function.

### Example

This prints the sum of first 100 natural numbers and first 500 natural numbers

def sum_n(n): if n== 0: return 0 else: return n + sum_n(n-1) print(sum_n(100)) print(sum_n(500))

### Output

5050 125250

## Factorial Function Using Recursion

A recursive function is one that calls itself repeatedly until it reaches a base case where the recursion stops. Let us consider an example of a simple recursive function in Python that calculates the factorial of a given number

Here, the factorial function takes a positive integer n as an argument and returns the factorial of that number. If n is equal to 0, then the function returns 1, which is the base case. Otherwise, the function calls itself recursively with the argument n-1 and multiplies the result by n. The recursion continues until the base case is reached.

### Example

This will call the factorial function with an argument of 5, which will return 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 = 120.

def factorial(n): if n == 0: return 1 else: return n * factorial(n-1) print(factorial(5))

### Output

120

## Fibonacci Sequence Using Recursion

Here in this example, the Fibonacci function takes a non-negative integer n as an argument and returns the nth number in the Fibonacci sequence. If n is equal to 0, the function returns 0. If n is equal to 1, the function returns 1. Otherwise, the function calls itself recursively with arguments n-1 and n-2 and returns the sum of the results. The recursion continues until the base case is reached.

### Example

This will call the Fibonacci function with an argument of 6, which will return the 6th number in the Fibonacci sequence, which is 8.

def fibonacci(n): if n == 0: return 0 elif n == 1: return 1 else: return fibonacci(n-1) + fibonacci(n-2) print(fibonacci(6))

### Output

8

## How to find the GCD of numbers:

Another example of a recursive function in Python that finds the greatest common divisor (GCD) of two positive integers is as follows

In this example, the gcd function takes two positive integers a and b as arguments and returns their greatest common divisor. If b is equal to 0, the function returns a, which is the base case. Otherwise, the function calls itself recursively with the arguments b and a % b, where % is the modulus operator, and returns the result. The recursion continues until the base case is reached.

### Example

This will call the gcd function with arguments of 24 and 36, which will return their greatest common divisor, which is 12.

def gcd(a, b): if b == 0: return a else: return gcd(b, a % b) print(gcd(24, 36))

### Output

12

## Calculate the sum of digits of a positive integer:

In this example, the sum_digits function takes a positive integer n as an argument and returns the sum of its digits. If n is less than 10, the function returns n, which is the base case. Otherwise, the function adds the last digit of n to the sum of the digits of n divided by 10 using integer division (// operator) and calls itself recursively with the result. The recursion continues until the base case is reached.

### Example

This will call the sum_digits function with an argument of 12345, which will return the sum of its digits, which is 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15.

def sum_digits(n): if n < 10: return n else: return n % 10 + sum_digits(n // 10) print(sum_digits(12345))

### Output

15

## Find the length of a string

In this example, the string_length function takes a string s as an argument and returns its length. If s is an empty string (''), the function returns 0, which is the base case. Otherwise, the function adds 1 to the length of the string obtained by slicing the first character (s[0]) and calling the string_length function recursively with the remaining string (s[1:]). The recursion continues until the base case is reached.

### Example

def string_length(s): if s == '': return 0 else: return 1 + string_length(s[1:]) print(string_length('hello world'))

### Output

11

This will call the string_length function with an argument of 'hello world', which will return its length, which is 11.

Recursive functions can be a powerful and elegant solution to certain types of problems, but they can also lead to infinite recursion if not designed properly. It's important to carefully consider the base case and ensure that the function will eventually reach it.

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