Main content

## General sequences

# Evaluating sequences in recursive form

CCSS.Math:

## Video transcript

- [Voiceover] So we've
got the function g here, and what I want you to
do is pause the video and figure out what g of one is, figure out what g of two is, g of three, and g of four. Figure out what all four of these are. All right, now let's work
through this together. So g of one, if n is equal to one, well, then we're gonna hit
this case right over here, if n is equal to one, g is equal to four. So that was pretty straightforward. Now, g of two, if n is equal to two, well, two is greater than
one and it's a whole number, and so we would use this case. And this is interesting, because it's defined in
terms of the function, but it's not defined in terms of g of n, but g of n minus one. So if n is two, 'cause we're
evaluating g of two here, this is going to be g of two minus one, or g of one, plus 3.2. Plus 3.2. Well, what's that going to be? Well, g of one, we know is equal to four. We just figured that out. So four plus 3.2, that is 7.2. All right, let's keep going. G of three, we're gonna
fall into this case again, because three is greater than
one and it's a whole number. So this is going to be
g of three minus one, or g of two, plus 3.2. Plus 3.2. Well, we know what g of two is. It's 7.2. We just figured that out. It is 7.2. 7.2 plus 3.2 is going to be equal to 10.4. And then g of four,
well, we fall here again. This is gonna be g of three plus 3.2. G of three plus 3.2. What is that going to be equal to? Well, g of three we just
figured out is 10.4. 10.4 plus 3.2 is going to be 13.6. And so what you have here, this is actually quite interesting. You can think of this function g, and we see that it's defined
over all positive integers. Because it's defined
over positive integers, we could think of it
as defining a sequence, and we see what the sequence here is. The first term is four, second term is 7.2, next term is 10.4, next term is 13.6, and it could keep going on and on and on. And what's happening? What's
happening in this sequence? Well, we're starting with four. We're starting with four, and this case of the
function gave us that. If n is equal to four, if n is equal to one, the function is going to be equal to four, and then for each term after that, you take the previous
term and you add 3.2. So we add 3.2 for the
second term, we add 3.2, so we just keep adding, we just keep adding 3.2, not .32, 3.2 to get to the next term. Now, we could've defined it
that way, we could've said, "Hey, let's have a sequence
where the first term is four "and then we keep adding
3.2 to get each next term." But this is another
interesting way of defining it. And this way of defining it, where we defined it as
an algebraic function, a function that's defined
over all positive integers, where we have a base case. And a base case, really, in this case, gave us our first term, and then we have this other case that's defined in terms of the function. Then you have to recurse backwards to eventually get to a base case. We call this a recursive function. Recursive function. So with this example, we're seeing how a recursive function can be used to define an actual sequence. And we went in order here, but you could've gone
the other way around. If I said, "Oh, well, what's g of, "what's g of six?" Well, you'd go into this case, you'd say, "OK, that's going to
be g of five plus 3.2." It's gonna be the previous term plus 3.2 if we view it as a sequence. Well, then we're gonna have to figure out what the previous term is. G of five is going to be g of four, g of four plus 3.2, and you would keep going
back and back and back, but we've already figured
out what g of four is. It's 13.6, so this is 16.8, and then if g of five is 16.8, 16.8, you add 3.2 there, you would get 20. So you could start at g of
six and keep backing up, all the way until you get to g of one, and then you figure out what that is. You recurse back to your base case, and then you're able to
fill in all of the blanks. Let's do a few more examples of this. So we have this function here. So let's say that this defines a sequence. Let's think about what
the first four terms of that sequence are, and once again, I encourage you to pause the
video and figure that out. All right, let's work through it. So h of one is, well,
they very clearly tell us that's going to be 14. If n is equal to one, h is 14. H of two, well, now we're falling into this case, 'cause two is greater than
one and it's a whole number, so it's gonna be 28 over h of one, over h of one. Well, we know h of one is 14, so it's gonna be 28 over
14, which is equal to two. Now h of three. H of three, we're gonna
fall into this case again. It's gonna be 28, 28 divided by h of two, if we're thinking of this as a sequence, divided by the previous
term in the sequence. So 28 divided by h of two, we know that h of two is equal to, is equal to two. We just figured that out. So we go back to 14,
something very interesting. I think you see where this is going. H of four is gonna be 28
divided by h of three, 28 divided by h of three, which is 28 divided by, this is h of three right over here, we just figured that out, divided by 14, which is back to two. If we were to think of this as a sequence, we'd say, "All right, let's
see, the first term is 14, "then we get to two, "then we go to 14, "then we get to two." So one way to think about this sequence is that we just keep alternating
between 14 and twos. All of the odd terms
of the sequence are 14, all of the even terms
of the sequence are two. That's one way to think about it. Or another way to think about it is, we're starting with 14, and each successive term is
the previous term divided, is 28 divided by the previous term. So here, 28 divided by 14 is two. 28 divided by two is 14.
28 divided by 14 is two. And we keep going on and on and on, and that's what was actually
going on right over there. Let's do one more of these. And this one is interesting, because we now have, we now have two base cases. So let's think about this. This is, and actually let's just say we wanted to figure out, we
wanted to figure out what, what f of four is. F of four, well, we're
gonna fall into this case. Four is greater than two
and it's a whole number. It's gonna be f of four minus two, so it's gonna be f of two
plus f of four minus one, plus f of three. So f of four is gonna be the sum of the preceding two numbers. All right, so let's figure out what f of three is going to be. F of three, we fall into this case again, it's gonna be f of three
minus two is f of one, plus f of three minus one, plus f of two, the sum of the preceding two numbers. So let's figure out what
f of two is going to be. Well, now we're not doing the sum of the preceding two numbers anymore. We fall into this base
case. N is now equal to two. It's going to be equal to negative four. And we're gonna have to figure out what f of one is as well. And we see when n is equal to one, f is equal to negative six. We have two base cases right over here. Base cases, cases that aren't defined in terms of the function itself. And you need that, 'cause otherwise you'd
just be recursing forever. You would never get to actual numbers. But now we can use these to
fill in the values up here. So the sequence is negative six, then we go to negative
four as the second term, and then the third term is
the sum of the previous two. Negative six plus negative
four is negative 10. Negative six plus negative
four is negative 10. And then the fourth term is
the sum of the previous two. We see it right over here. The second term, f of
two, plus f of three. Negative four plus
negative 10 is negative 14. And we could keep going on
and on and on like that. So this right over here is negative 14. So the whole point of this video, you're a little bit familiar
with recursive functions now, and also you can see how these can be used to define actual sequences.