Help With Recursion

I'm trying to recursivly search a vector of objects for the smallest value of a field.
It should work something like this.... Say you have 8 elements

          12345678      // not 2 or 1 split vector
         1234  8765     // not 2 or 1 split vector 1234 and 5678
       12  43  87  56   // min of 1&2 , min of 3&4, min of 5&6, min of 7&8
         1 3      7  5     .....
           1         5

I have these functions
FindMid(string a, string b) // checks for the smallest value (I checked this function it works)
vector<Associate> split(vector<Associate> &a) (Will split a vector that looks like 012345678 into 01234 and 8765
string MinimumObject(vector<Associate> &Members, string key)

Code I'm Trying
string MinimumObject(vector<Associate> &Members, string key, int mode)
      vector<Associate> Members2;
      if (Members.size() == 0)
            return "NULL";

      if (Members.size() == 1)
           return Members[0].getKey(key);

      if (Members.size() == 2)
           return FindMin(Members[0].getKey(key), Members[1].getKey(key));

           Members2 = split(Members); // Split Members vector
           return FindMin(MinimumObject(Members, key, mode), MinimumObject(Members2, key, mode));      

string FindMin(string a, string b)
     bool first = (a<=b);
    if (first)
      cout<<a<<" is less than "<<b<<endl;
      return a;
                cout<<b<<" is less than "<<a<<endl;
      return b;

vector<Associate> split(vector<Associate> &a)
       //define local variables
       vector<Associate> b;
       int size, count;

       Associate temp;

       size = size -1;

       while (count!=size){
         count = count - 1;
       return b;
}//end split


Something is wrong though becuase when I output what the recursive function MinimumObject returns by typing
string hold;
hold = Senate_Class.MinimumObject(Senate_Class.Members, "phone", 0);

I get a value that is not the smallest


the function calls FindMin several times and the last comparison that function makes is always the minimum.

So bottom line for some reason the FindMin function can locate the minimum value in the vector but the recusive function does not return it..

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Could you show all FindMin output?
You say "the last comparison that function makes is always the minimum". There should be a sequence of comparisons with the minimum, right? 3 comparisons with 1 if there were 8 entries initially (the log base 2 of the size of the original array, give or take).

Are you sure the returned value is not the smallest? That is you are comparing strings so if a string contains non-digits (or if the lengths of the keys are not identical) the comparison may appear to sort in an odd way. You may want to print hold inside of quotes as in cout << "\"" << hold << "\"" << endl so you can see if there are any spaces at the front of the string.

All of this indicates that I don't see anything immeadiately and cannot run your code so there is noting I can do but suggest tests to you.

Good luck,
PS: Mode is never used in MinimumObject (or at least the version we were shown). IThere are several studies that corelate unused variables/parameters with errors in code (it is not an error in and of itself).
RiMZAuthor Commented:
the output created by FindMin is....

(202) 224-2441 is less than (202) 224-3441
(202) 224-2441 is less than (202) 224-5852
(202) 224-2644 is less than (202) 224-4343
(202) 224-2644 is less than (202) 224-3954
(202) 224-2441 is less than (202) 224-2644
(202) 224-2921 is less than (202) 224-3521
(202) 224-2921 is less than (202) 224-4451
(202) 224-2531 is less than (202) 224-5641
(202) 224-2531 is less than (202) 224-5054
(202) 224-2531 is less than (202) 224-2921
(202) 224-2441 is less than (202) 224-2523
(202) 224-5047 is less than (202) 224-5521
(202) 224-5042 is less than (202) 224-5721
(202) 224-4623 is less than (202) 224-6521
(202) 224-3553 is less than (202) 224-4623
(202) 224-3553 is less than (202) 224-5042
(202) 224-5444 is less than (202) 224-5623
(202) 224-2651 is less than (202) 224-5444
(202) 224-4024 is less than (202) 224-5941
(202) 224-4944 is less than (202) 224-6361
(202) 224-4024 is less than (202) 224-4944
(202) 224-2651 is less than (202) 224-4024
(202) 224-2651 is less than (202) 224-3553
(202) 224-2441 is less than (202) 224-2651
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RiMZAuthor Commented:
In main I code this...

      string hold;
      hold = Senate_Class.MinimumObject(Senate_Class.Members, "phone", 0);

This couts this

(202) 224-4944 is less than (202) 224-6361
:(202) 224-4944:

why is (202) 224-4944 coming up instead of (202) 224-2441
You are testing your find min routine BEFORE your assignment to hold?

You only show one line of comparison (an odd line of comparison) before you show the return value. Your MinimumObject is DESTRUCTIVE and if you don't make a COPY of the input data that data will be destroyed (or rather reduced to a two element array: bet those two phone numbers are the first numbers in your original list).

> string MinimumObject(vector<Associate> &Members, string key)
Try removing the pass-by-reference functionality.

The left and right code paths are likely _confused_:
> return FindMin(MinimumObject(Members, key, mode), MinimumObject(Members2, key, mode));

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Looking at the output, that seems to be the case. My suggestion: Change split so it takes three vectors, the original and references to the first and second half. Then take the original apart into the other two vecotrs.
Then in MinimumObject you have two vectors declared locally and make the call to split as:

split(Members, frontOfMembers, backOfMembers);

and then pass front and back into the recursive call.

If I haven't explained myself clearly, please feel free to follow up here.

RiMZAuthor Commented:

7 hours ... world time zones are great.
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