[SOLVED] Recursion or Iteration?

Issue

Is there a performance hit if we use a loop instead of recursion or vice versa in algorithms where both can serve the same purpose? Eg: Check if the given string is a palindrome.
I have seen many programmers using recursion as a means to show off when a simple iteration algorithm can fit the bill.
Does the compiler play a vital role in deciding what to use?

Solution

It is possible that recursion will be more expensive, depending on if the recursive function is tail recursive (the last line is recursive call). Tail recursion should be recognized by the compiler and optimized to its iterative counterpart (while maintaining the concise, clear implementation you have in your code).

I would write the algorithm in the way that makes the most sense and is the clearest for the poor sucker (be it yourself or someone else) that has to maintain the code in a few months or years. If you run into performance issues, then profile your code, and then and only then look into optimizing by moving over to an iterative implementation. You may want to look into memoization and dynamic programming.

Answered By – Paul Osborne

Answer Checked By – Robin (BugsFixing Admin)

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