Friday, February 5, 2010

Recursion Explained

Have you ever heard the term "recursion"? In computer speak it involves logic which invokes itself. This is a very useful tool, but it can be dangerous if you don't supply the logic with an "out", that is, identifiying a condition or setting a limit that will allow the recursion to stop. Otherwise, you get stuck in an endless loop.

For a non-computer illustration of this, we can look at the Nashua Telegraph:

A story on Page 1 of Tuesday's Telegraph quoted a White House official explaining that a Q-and-A session with dozens of teenagers in Nashua High School North on Monday was "off the record." However, the explanation about the talk being "off the record" was, it turns out, also "off the record" and should not have been quoted.
Correction in the November 4th edition: "...The explanation about the explanation about the explanation about the explanation about the explanation..."

This is recursion error.

Hat tip: Boing Boing

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