Python Program to Perform Binary Search using Recursion

This is a Python program to implement binary search with recursion.

Problem Description

The program takes a list and key as input and finds the index of the key in the list using binary search.

Problem Solution

1. Create a function binary_search that takes a list and the variables start, end and key as arguments. The function searches for the key in the range [start… end – 1].
2. The base case consists of testing whether start is less than end. If not, -1 is returned.
3. mid is calculated as the floor of the average of start and end.
4. If the element at index mid is less than key, binary_search is called again wit start=mid + 1 and if it is more than key, it is called with end=mid. Otherwise, mid is returned as the index of the found element.

Program/Source Code

Here is the source code of a Python program to implement binary search using recursion. The program output is shown below.

def binary_search(alist, start, end, key):
    """Search key in alist[start... end - 1]."""
    if not start < end:
        return -1
    mid = (start + end)//2
    if alist[mid] < key:
        return binary_search(alist, mid + 1, end, key)
    elif alist[mid] > key:
        return binary_search(alist, start, mid, key)
        return mid
alist = input('Enter the sorted list of numbers: ')
alist = alist.split()
alist = [int(x) for x in alist]
key = int(input('The number to search for: '))
index = binary_search(alist, 0, len(alist), key)
if index < 0:
    print('{} was not found.'.format(key))
    print('{} was found at index {}.'.format(key, index))
Program Explanation

1. The user is prompted to enter a list of numbers.
2. The user is then asked to enter a key to search for.
3. The list and key is passed to binary_search with start=0 and end=length of the list.
4. If the return value is -1, the key is not found and a message is displayed, otherwise the index of the found item is displayed.

Runtime Test Cases
Case 1:
Enter the sorted list of numbers: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The number to search for: 9
9 was found at index 5.
Case 2:
Enter the sorted list of numbers: 3 4 5 10
The number to search for: 8
8 was not found.
Case 3:
Enter the sorted list of numbers: 7
The number to search for: 7
7 was found at index 0.

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Manish Bhojasia, a technology veteran with 20+ years @ Cisco & Wipro, is Founder and CTO at Sanfoundry. He lives in Bangalore, and focuses on development of Linux Kernel, SAN Technologies, Advanced C, Data Structures & Alogrithms. Stay connected with him at LinkedIn.

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