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View Full Version : [SOLVED] power operator vs power function python and octave

Hetepeperfan
March 30th, 2011, 09:20 PM
Hello,

Why does the result of -2 to the power of 2 result in -4 if you use an operator, but nicely in 4 when you use a function?

In python eg:

>>> -2**2
-4
but :

>>> pow(-2,2)
4
and simillary for octave/matlab (only tried in octave)

octave:6> -3^2
ans = -9

octave:5> power(-3,2)
ans = 9
is there a reason why negative numbers remain negative while raising to the power of an even positive number? I just noticed it today and I don't understand why this behaviour is?

Kind regards,

Maarten

wmcbrine
March 30th, 2011, 09:31 PM
Operator precedence -- "**" is being evaluated before "-". Try:

(-2)**2

Hetepeperfan
March 30th, 2011, 09:38 PM
Thanks, perhaps this is a reason why I should really memorize the operator precedence tables. I f you could only see how red my cheeks are;-).

Maarten

DaithiF
March 30th, 2011, 09:39 PM
operator precedence ... ** has a higher precedence than -
see http://docs.python.org/reference/expressions.html#summary

-2**2 is evaluated as -(2 ** 2) = -4
whereas
(-2) ** 2 gives 4, as i guess you were expecting.