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Algorithm 1:   Even(positive integer k)

Input: k , a positive integer

Output: k-th even natural number (the first even being 0)


if k = 1, then return 0;

else return Even(k-1) + 2 .

Here the computation of Even(k) is reduced to that of Even for a smaller input value, that is Even(k-1). Even(k) eventually becomes Even(1) which is 0 by the first line. For example, to compute Even(3), Algorithm Even(k) is called with k = 2. In the computation of Even(2), Algorithm Even(k) is called with k = 1. Since Even(1) = 0, 0 is returned for the computation of Even(2), and Even(2) = Even(1) + 2 = 2 is obtained. This value 2 for Even(2) is now returned to the computation of Even(3), and Even(3) = Even(2) + 2 = 4 is obtained.

As can be seen by comparing this algorithm with the recursive definition of the set of nonnegative even numbers, the first line of the algorithm corresponds to the basis clause of the definition, and the second line corresponds to the inductive clause.

By way of comparison, let us see how the same problem can be solved by an iterative algorithm.

Algorithm 1-a:   Even(positive integer k)

Input: k, a positive integer

Output: k-th even natural number (the first even being 0)


int   i, even;

i := 1;

even := 0;

while( i<k ) {

          even := even + 2;

          i := i + 1;


return even .

Example 2: Algorithm for computing the k-th power of 2

Algorithm 2   Power_of_2(natural number k)

Input: k , a natural number

Output: k-th power of 2


if k = 0, then return 1;

else return 2*Power_of_2(k - 1) .

By way of comparison, let us see how the same problem can be solved by an iterative algorithm.

Algorithm 2-a   Power_of_2(natural number k)

Input: k , a natural number

Output: k-th power of 2


int   i, power;

i := 0;

power := 1;

while( i<k ) {

          power := power * 2;

          i := i + 1;


return power .

The next example does not have any corresponding recursive definition. It shows a recursive way of solving a problem.

Example 3: Recursive Algorithm for Sequential Search

Algorithm 3   SeqSearch(L, i, j, x)

Input: L is an array, i and j are positive integers, i ≤j, and x is the key to be searched for in L.

Output: If x is in L between indexes i and j, then output its index, else output 0.


if i ≤j , then


   if L(i) = x, then return i ;

   else return SeqSearch(L, i+1, j, x)


else return 0.

Recursive algorithms can also be used to test objects for membership in a set.

Example 4: Algorithm for testing whether or not a number x is a natural number

Algorithm 4   Natural(a number x)

Input: A number x

Output: "Yes" if x is a natural number, else "No"


if x<0,   then return "No"


    if x = 0,   then return "Yes"

    else return Natural( x - 1 )

Example 5: Algorithm for testing whether or not an expression w is a proposition (propositional form)

Algorithm 5   Proposition( a string w )

Input: A string w

Output: "Yes" if w is a proposition, else "No"


if w is 1(true), 0(false), or a propositional variable, then return "Yes"

else if w = ~w1, then return Proposition(w1)

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
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s. Reply
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are you nano engineer ?
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Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
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s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
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Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
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what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
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I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
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Source:  OpenStax, Discrete structures. OpenStax CNX. Jan 23, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10513/1.1
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