Home : Software Terms : Iteration Definition

Iteration

Iteration is the repetition of a function or process in a computer program. Iterations of functions are common in computer programming, since they allow multiple blocks of data to be processed in sequence. This is typically done using a "while loop" or "for loop" (see the examples below). These loops will repeat a process until a certain number or case is reached. Recursive functions also use iteration, though instead of repeating a process, the entire function repeats itself.

While loop:   while (x < 30) { ... x++; }
For loop:   for (x=0; x<30; x++) { ... }

A practical example of how iterations are used is a PHP Web page that lists data from a table in a database. In order to display the table on the Web, the function might write each row in HTML using data from the database until the last row of data is reached. In this case, each row of the table would be created by an iteration of the PHP function.

Iterated functions are frequently used in both Web scripts and software programs. They can be simple functions like the one in the example above or complex loops that contain nested loops, which may call additional functions. The amazing thing is that even these complex loops typically only take a fraction of a second to complete.

Updated: April 11, 2008

Cite this definition:

https://techterms.com/definition/iteration

TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definiton of Iteration. It explains in computing terminology what Iteration means and is one of many software terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Iteration definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!