Tail Recursion- Know More Interesting Facts

A type of recursion in which a function’s last operation is a recursion call. Instead of constructing a new stack frame, the recursion can be avoided by performing the call in the present stack frame and delivering the result. The act of understanding the problem or a set of strategies in terms of a simplified version of oneself is referred to as recursion. A tail call is a module call made as to the last step of a process. If the output of a tail is the same process, the procedure is said to be tail-recursive, which is a type of direct recursion. Let us know more detail about ‘Tail Recursion’.

Tail Recursion

Tail Recursion

Recursion is a big aspect of various sub-disciplines, such as:

  • Recursion in Linear Form
  • Recursion in Binary
  • Recursion in the Tail
  • Nested Recursion
  • Mutual Recursion

Tail-recursive methods are recommended over non-tail C++ since tail-recursion can be optimized by the compiler. A stack is typically used by compilers to execute recursive operations. This stack contains all relevant information for each recursive call, including parameter values. When a function is performed, its data is pushed into a stack, and once the function is finished, the data is popped from the stack. As a result, the stack depth (the greatest amount of stack space used at any point during compilation) is higher for non-tail-recursive functions.

A stack is used in recursion to keep a record of function calls. A new frame is put onto the stack with each callback function, containing the call’s local variables and data. If one stack frame uses O (1), or continuous memory space, then the memory required for N recursive calls would be O. (N). The space performance of recursion is reduced from O (N) to O (1) by eliminating tail calls (1). No additional stack frames are formed as a result of the function call being removed, and the function is performed in unchanging memory space. Compilers use a simple principle to optimize tail-recursive functions: there is nothing else to execute in the continuing function after the recursive call, therefore maintaining the stack frame of the intended usage is meaningless.

The Function of Tail Recursion

Non-tail recursion is preferable to tail recursion. Because there is no work remaining after the recursive call, the compiler will have an easier time optimizing the code. When a function is called, its address is kept in the stack. So, if it’s tail recursion, there’s no need to save addresses in the stack. To get the last n rows, use the tail function. This function takes the object’s last n rows based on position. It can be used to swiftly validate data. The way recursion and iteration conclude is a significant distinction. While a loop repeatedly executes a block of code, checking and determining if it is at the structure’s end, recursive code however has no linear end. The recursive call and the base case are the two pieces of a recursive function such as the one above. The base case (or bases cases) is a precondition that examines to see if we’ve acquired all of the information we require from our function. 

Tail Recursion Rule of Thumb

Tail-recursive functions, on the whole, are faster if they don’t have to reverse the outcome before returning it. This is because it demands another repetition of the entire list. When it comes to shrinking lists, tail-recursive methods are usually quicker. 

Use of Tail in Python

Python’s tail function displays the data frames’ last five rows by default. There is only one essential input: the number of rows. This parameter allows us all to show the sequence number we want. Negative N numbers are also supported via the tail function. In that situation, all rows are returned except for the first N rows.

Difference between Tail and Non-Tailed Recursion

There is no need to perform any additional processes after completing the recursive function in it; the function can simply return the result of the recursive call. Some operations must be executed using the recursive call’s returned value in non-tail recursion. Non-tail recursion is preferable to tail recursion. Because there is no work remaining after the recursive call, the compiler will have an easier time optimizing the code. Whenever an operation is performed, the stack saves the location of that function.

Tail Recursion Implementation (Sample)

The very last command to be executed is the recursive call. The second parameter of the function has no bearing on any of the operations. Let’s execute the sum function with the parameters n = 4 and running sum = 0. As a result, the function call sequence will be:

total(4, 0)

total(3, 4)

sum(2, 7) sum(2, 7) sum(2, 7) sum(2 (1, 9)

Without having to wait for the entire function call to complete, the running sum records the sum of each function call. Furthermore, each function call is separate since we do not use the return statement of any previous function call to determine the current function’s outcome. As a result, the solution’s overall space complexity will remain unchanged.

Advantages of Tail Recursion

  1. it reduces the amount of stack frame in the memory stack, lowering the function’s space complexity.
  2. There is no stack overflowing exception since each method remains in memory until it is performed.
  3. In addition, it permits the compiler to do certain optimizations that aren’t possible with non-tail recursion.

Disadvantages of Tail Recursion

  1. it is substantially more efficient when implemented iteratively since the compiler can make numerous optimizations.
  2. it techniques are inefficient in some situations, and they can affect code readability.


The act of invoking a recursive function towards the conclusion of a code module instead of being in the middle is known as tail recursion. A recursive function performs itself. This programming technique is frequently used for self-referencing procedures and is a key component of programming languages like LISP. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • When should you employ tail recursion?

Ans. whenever you think code performance is more important than readability, tail recursion can be employed.

  • What are some of the challenges that tail recursion can solve easily?

Ans. Many functions that aren’t tail-recursive can be made tail-recursive by adding some additional parameters.

  • Is it possible to implement every recursive algorithm repeatedly?

Ans. Yes, you can rewrite any recursive algorithm as a repetitive algorithm.

Tail Recursion- Know More Interesting Facts

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