Some methods implemented using recursion can also be directly implemented using iteration.

*Example:* Iterative implementation of the factorial, exploiting the following
iterative definition:

public static long factorialIterative(long n) { int res = 1; while (n > 0) { res = res * n; n--; } return res; }

Characteristics of the iterative implementation:

- initialization:

Ex.`res = 1;` - loop operation, executed a number of times equal to the number of
repetitions of the loop:

Ex.`res = res * n;` - termination:

Ex.`n--;`

allows the condition`(n > 0)`of the`while`loop to become false

Recursive implementation of the factorial, exploiting the recursive definition shown previously:

public static long factorial(long n) { if (n == 0) return 1; else return n * factorial(n-1); }

Characteristics of the recursive implementation:

- base step:

Ex.`return 1;` - recursive step:

Ex.`return n * factorial(n-1) ;` - termination is guaranteed by the fact that the recursive call
`factorial(n-1)`decreases by one the value passed as parameter; hence, if initially we have`n>0`, sooner or later we reach an activation in which the condition`n==0`is true and hence only the code for the base step is executed.

Actually, it is not always possible to implement a recursive method in a simple way without using recursion. However, all recursive methods can be implemented iteratively by simulating recursion through the use of a specific data structure (a stack).