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# How to compute the factorial of a number in Python Educative Answers Team

The factorial(!) of a number n is the product of all positive numbers less than or equal to n.

## Equation

The factorial of a number is defined as:

$factorial(n)=n * factorial(n-1)$

$or$

$factorial(n)=n * (n-1) * (n-2) ... * 1$

Note: The factorial of 0 is 1.

## Example

To calculate the factorial of 4, have a look at the following illustration:

$4 != 4*3*2*1$

## Approaches to compute the factorial of a number in Python

In Python, there are two approaches to computing the factorial of a number:

1. Iterative Method
2. Recursive Method

## Iterative Method

The following code explains how to compute the factorial of a number using the iterative approach:

def factorial(n):
fact = 1
for num in range(2, n + 1):
fact *= num
return fact

The iterative approach works by setting a base value to $1$. For each loop, the method multiplies to the base value until the for loop finishes and you get the final factorial value.

## Recursive approach

The recursive approach is when the function calls itself again and again until some stopping condition. It has two parts:

### Base case

This is where the recursion stops

### Recursive Case

This is the case where the function calls itself again and again until the base condition is reached.

$factorial(4)=4*factorial(3)$

$factorial(3)=3*factorial(2)$

$factorial(2)=2*factorial(1)$

$factorial(1)=1*factorial(0)$

The following illustration explains how to compute the factorial of a number using recursion in Python:

1 of 10
def factorial(n):
if n == 1: #base case
return n
else:
return n*factorial(n-1) # recursive case

number = 4
if number < 0:
print("Factorial exists for positive numbers only")
elif number == 0:
print("Factorial of 0 : 1")
else:
print("Factorial of",number,":",factorial(number))

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