Python pow and math.pow: how to calculate exponentiation

In Python, double asterisks means power operator.

a = 3 ** 2
b = 3 ** 3
c = 3 ** 4

print(a)  # 9
print(b)  # 27
print(c)  # 81

3 ** 4 is 3 * 3 * 3 * 3. Python

pow

pow is a Python built-in function calculating exponentiation.

a = pow(2, 2)
b = pow(2, 3)
c = pow(2, 4)

print(a)  # 4
print(b)  # 8
print(c)  # 16

The first argument is base and the second is power.

math.pow

pow in Python math module is different from built-in function pow explained in above. math.pow also returns exponentiation but the type is float even if the value is int.

import math

a = math.pow(2, 2)
b = math.pow(2, 3)
c = math.pow(2, 4)

print(a)  # 4.0
print(b)  # 8.0
print(c)  # 16.0

math.pow(2, 4) means $2^4$ but it returns 16.0, a float value.

  • pow basically returns int
  • math.pow basically returns float

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