Cartoon - Recursion
Cartoon - Recursion
Written by Mike James   
Sunday, 05 February 2012

This week's selected xkcd cartoon of the week is about the most feared of programming concepts - recursion. And, to paraphrase a well known quote, if you don't fear it, then you don't understand it.

OK, perhaps you do understand it, but it is in the nature of recursion to occasionally mislead and surprise even the most experienced programmer. You probably don't need to fear it, but you do need to respect it for the powerful construct it is.

In the cartoon, the player of a game starts another, similar, game within the game and this could involve the players in this game starting another game and ...

 

Tabletop Roleplaying

More cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language

 

Of course there are games where you can indeed create real world objects and perhaps the most recursive is to create a computer itself - shades of the Matrix.

Recursion has many facets. On one level it is just the fourth flow of control - sequential, conditional, loop and recursion. On another levels it leads to difficult paradoxes and perhaps even the experience of consciousness. The idea is that we are conscious because we observe ourselves - the ultimate act of recursion.

Many programmers and philosophers refer to the "strange loop", which is the idea that a self-referential loop has more going on than meets the eye. If you want to know about these ideas then read: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (see sidebar). A book that is more focused on the strange loop idea is I Am a Strange Loop (see sidebar).

Related Articles

If you would like to know more about recursion - then see Recursion.

 

justjsquare

 



 

Comments




or email your comment to: comments@i-programmer.info

 

To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Google+, Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook or sign up for our weekly newsletter.

 

Banner


What Makes Python Special?
07/05/2018

Python is currently a trending language. It has ranked as the most popular programming language in more than one survey. It is the most widely used language for teaching computer science and is the la [ ... ]



Carnegie Mellon Offers Bachelor's Degree In AI
18/05/2018

Carnegie Mellon is pioneering a Bachelor of Science degree in artificial intelligence beginning in September 2018, to address the growing demand for AI expertise.  


More News


<ASIN:0465026567>

<ASIN:0465030793>

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 February 2012 )
 
 

   
Banner
RSS feed of news items only
I Programmer News
Copyright © 2018 i-programmer.info. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.