NIST

recursive

(data structure)

Definition: (1) A data structure that is partially composed of other instances of the data structure. For instance, a tree is composed of smaller trees (subtrees) and leaf nodes, and a list may have other lists as elements. (2) An algorithm in which functions might call themselves. For instance, quicksort or heapify.

See also recursion.

Note: Infinite data structures may be represented by having a tree include (point back to) itself recursively, a list include itself, etc. Recursive data structures are often best handled with a recursive algorithm, or an algorithm using recursion.

Author: PEB

More information

See the entry at recursion for links, explanations, exercises, cross references, etc.


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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:08 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "recursive", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: https://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/recursive.html