[R] extremely slow recursion in R?

From: Jason Liao <jg_liao_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Fri 25 Aug 2006 - 06:05:12 EST

I recently coded a recursion algorithm in R and ir ran a few days without returning any result. So I decided to try a simple case of computing binomial coefficient using recusrive relationship

choose(n,k) = choose(n-1, k)+choose(n-1,k-1)

I implemented in R and Fortran 90 the same algorithm (code follows). The R code finishes 31 minutes and the Fortran 90 program finishes in 6 seconds. So the Fortran program is 310 times faster. I thus wondered if there is room for speeding up recursion in R. Thanks.


R code

my.choose = function(n,k)
  if(k>n) value = 0.
  else if(k==0) value = 1.
  else if(k==n) value = 1.
  else value = my.choose(n-1,k) + my.choose(n-1, k-1)



Fortran code

  recursive function choose(n, k) result(value)   implicit none
  integer n, k
  double precision value
  if(k>n) then

    value = 0.
  elseif(k==0) then
    value = 1.

  else if(k==n) then
    value = 1.
    value = choose(n-1, k) + choose(n-1, k-1)   end if
  end function   

  program main
    write(*,*) choose(30, 15)
  end program

Jason Liao, http://www.geocities.com/jg_liao Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Drexel University School of Public Health 245 N. 15th Street, Mail Stop 660
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1192
phone 215-762-3934

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