According to my evaluation ,the overall asymptotic running time of the below algorithm is O(n) ,since x (number of recursive calls) is 1, and y ( the number of splits) is 2 , and finally z ( the power of amount of work done outside of the recursion call) is 1, hence x<y^{d}, but my answer turned out to be wrong . Why?

 FastPower(a,b) :
  if b = 1
    return a
    c := a*a
    ans := FastPower(c,[b/2])
  if b is odd
    return a*ans
  else return ans
  • $\begingroup$ I mean recursive calls $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ My bad. I'm used to different notation, so I thought you meant the recursion depth is $1$. $\endgroup$
    – nir shahar
    Sep 20, 2021 at 18:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What is $n$ in your question? is it the size of $b$ in bits? $\endgroup$
    – nir shahar
    Sep 20, 2021 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ it means linear time. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 18:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm asking what $n$ means in this context. What value does it represent? The run-time is dependent on $n$, so we have to first understand what $n$ relates to $\endgroup$
    – nir shahar
    Sep 20, 2021 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


FastPower will compute $a^b$ using the following recurrence:

$$\begin{equation}a^b=\begin{cases}a & \text{if }b=1\\ (a^2)^{\frac{b}{2}} & \text{if }b\text{ is even}\\ a\cdot(a^2)^{\frac{b-1}{2}} & \text{if }b\text{ is odd}\end{cases}\end{equation}$$

This is $O(\log{b})$ since $b$ decreases by at least a factor of $2$ each recursive call. This assumes multiplication takes constant time since we perform $O(\log{b})$ multiplications.


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