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More About Recursion Chapter 8 Section 2

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Recall Recursion is a programming technique where a method calls itself. Recursion uses the IF/ELSE control. Two flavors: Can be used instead of a loop for repetition (Section 8.1) Can be used to break down a complex problem into a simpler problem (Section 8.2)

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A Towers Problem The challenge is to move all the disks from the source cone to the target cone. Move 1 disk at a time A larger disk may never be on top of a smaller disk Source Spare Target (coneFrom) (coneSpare) (coneTo)

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Give it a try: http://www.mazeworks.com/hanoi/

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Initial world The disks are instances of the Torus class. (A torus is a doughnut shaped object.) Each cone is positioned exactly 1 meter from its nearest neighbor. Other than the bottom disk, each disk is positioned exactly 0.1 meter above the disk below.

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Identifying the disks To make it easier to describe our solution, we give each disk an id number and a name. id number name 1 disk1 2 disk2 3 disk3 4 disk4

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Solving the problem Our solution will use the Principle of wishful thinking assume we could solve a smaller version of the same problem if we could solve the smaller version, it would make it easier to solve this problem. Base case – the simplest possible version of this problem, one that can obviously be solved.

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Wishful thinking in practice Assume I could move 3 of the disks to the spare cone. Then I could move the 4 th disk (base case) to the target cone.

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Storyboard To solve the towers problem, we need to know howmany disks we have and which cone is the source, the target, and the spare: towers Parameters: howmany, source, target, spare If howmany is equal to 1 move it (the smallest disk) from the source to the target Else Do in order call towers to move howmany-1 disks from source to spare (using target as spare) move it (disk # howmany) from the source to the target call towers to move howmany-1 disks from the spare to the target (using the source as the spare) base case – move 1 disk a smaller problem -- recursively move the rest of the disks Two recursive calls are used in this method.

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Moving a disk A challenge in this animation is how to move a disk from one tower to another. In the storyboard for the towers method, we assumed that we had a method named moveIt that would accomplish the task. To write the moveIt method, we need to know: What are the parameters to send in to our method? What steps need to occur? How high to raise the disk object? How far (forward/back) to move it?

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moveIt Storyboard The parameters are: whichdisk – the disk id number fromcone – the source cone tocone – the target cone A storyboard describing the steps is: moveIt Parameters: whichdisk, fromcone, tocone Do in order Lift the disk up above the top of the fromcone Move it (forward or back) to a location above the tocone Lower the disk down onto the tocone

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Recursion Guidelines The base case is written as an If statement If the base case is not true, then instructions are executed to move 1 step closer to the base case and the method calls itself. Repeated self-calls eventually work down to the base case and the recursion ends.

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An Extra Challenge The moveIt method contains three sets of nested If statements The disk id number is used to determine which disk to move up move over move down The code is somewhat klutzy. In other words, the code is not elegant!

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Using an expression We noticed that the distance each disk has to move up (and then back down) is 0.3 meters more than 0.1 * the id number (whichdisk). We could use an expression to compute the distance for the move up and move down instructions. move the appropriate disk 0.3 + 0.1 *whichdisk

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Problem The problem with trying to use this nifty math expression is that we need to have the disk's name to write a move instruction. For example, disk1 move up … must be an object, cannot use the id number here

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Solution Condensing the program code to make it more elegant may lead to other problems. A conversion function is one that has a parameter to receive an argument of one data type and return some equivalent value, possibly of a different data type. To implement this, you need to write a function to convert the disk id number (i) to the disk name

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Assignment Towers of Hanoi Lab Read Tips & Techniques 8, Camera and Animation Controls Read Chapter 9 Section 1, Lists

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Lab Chapter 8 Lecture 2 Lab

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