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Multiuser detectors for direct-sequence code-division multiple-access (DS-CDMA) systems based on a recursive convex programming (RCP) relaxation approach are proposed. In these detectors, maximum likelihood (ML) detection is carried out in two steps: first, the combinatorial problem associated with ML detection is relaxed into a convex programming problem and then a recursive approach is applied to get an approximate solution for ML detection. Computer simulations demonstrate that the bit-error rate performance offered by the new detectors is near-optimal and superior to that offered by many existing suboptimal detectors including some recently proposed semidefinite-programming relaxation (SDPR) detectors. In addition, the amount of computation required by the RCP detectors is much less than that required by SDPR detectors.