How to calculate Exponents in Python

Updated onbyAlan Morel
How to calculate Exponents in Python

Exponentiation is the operation in which a number is multiplied by itself a certain number of times.

Just like in the real-world, using exponents is useful in programming languages whenever you want to repeat multiplication.

In this post, we'll look at how to calculate the exponent of a number in Python.

Using the ** operator

The easiest way to calculate the exponent of a number is to use the ** operator.

This operator uses the left-hand side number to be the base and the right-hand side number to be the exponent.

For example, this is how to calculate the exponent of 2 to the power of 3:

print(2 ** 3)
8

This does the same thing as the following:

print(2 * 2 * 2)
8

Using the pow() function

You can alternatively use Python's math module to calculate the exponent of a number.

This module exposes a function called pow() which takes two arguments, the base and the exponent.

Simply import the math module and then use the pow() function to calculate an exponent:

import math

print(math.pow(2, 3))
8

You can also omit the math module if you want to use the pow() function directly.

print(pow(2, 3))
8

There is a slight difference between these two scenarios, however. The difference is that math.pow will always return a float but pow will only return a float if either number is already a float.

Another thing to note is that math.pow can result in an overflow error if the exponent is too large.

The error will look like this:

OverflowError: math range error

Conclusion

In this post, we looked at the best ways to calculate exponents in Python.

To summarize, you can either use the ** operator or import the math module and use the pow() function or math.pow() to calculate exponents.

Hopefully, this has been helpful to you. Thanks for reading!

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