# Exponentiation

(Redirected from 0^0)
Graphs of y = bx for various bases b: base 10 (green), base e (red), base 2 (blue), and base 1/2 (cyan). Each curve passes through the point (0, 1) because any nonzero number raised to the power of 0 is 1. At x = 1, the value of y equals the base because any number raised to the power of 1 is the number itself.
Calculation results
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \left.{\begin{matrix}\scriptstyle {\text{summand}}\,+\,{\text{summand}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{addend (broad sense)}}\,+\,{\text{addend (broad sense)}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{augend}}\,+\,{\text{addend (strict sense)}}\end{matrix}}\right\}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{sum}}}$
Subtraction (−)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{minuend}}\,-\,{\text{subtrahend}}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{difference}}}$
Multiplication (×)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \left.{\begin{matrix}\scriptstyle {\text{factor}}\,\times \,{\text{factor}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{multiplicand}}\,\times \,{\text{multiplier}}\end{matrix}}\right\}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{product}}}$
Division (÷)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \left.{\begin{matrix}\scriptstyle {\frac {\scriptstyle {\text{dividend}}}{\scriptstyle {\text{divisor}}}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{ }}\\\scriptstyle {\frac {\scriptstyle {\text{numerator}}}{\scriptstyle {\text{denominator}}}}\end{matrix}}\right\}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle {\begin{matrix}\scriptstyle {\text{fraction}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{quotient}}\\\scriptstyle {\text{ratio}}\end{matrix}}}$
Modulo (mod)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{dividend}}{\bmod {\text{divisor}}}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{remainder}}}$
Exponentiation
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{base}}^{\text{exponent}}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{power}}}$
nth root (√)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\sqrt[{\text{degree}}]{\scriptstyle {\text{radicand}}}}\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{root}}}$
Logarithm (log)
${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \log _{\text{base}}({\text{antilogarithm}})\,=\,}$ ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\text{logarithm}}}$

Exponentiation is a mathematical operation, written as bn, involving two numbers, the base b and the exponent n. When n is a positive integer, exponentiation corresponds to repeated multiplication of the base: that is, bn is the product of multiplying n bases:

${\displaystyle b^{n}=\underbrace {b\times \cdots \times b} _{n}}$

In that case, bn is called the n-th power of b, or b raised to the n-th power.

The exponent is usually shown as a superscript to the right of the base. Some common exponents have their own names: the exponent 2 (or 2nd power) is called the square of b (b2) or b squared; the exponent 3 (or 3rd power) is called the cube of b (b3) or b cubed. The exponent −1 of b, or 1 / b, is called the reciprocal of b.

When n is a positive integer and b is not zero, bn is naturally defined as 1/bn, preserving the property bn × bm = bn + m.

The definition of exponentiation can be extended to allow any real or complex exponent. Exponentiation by integer exponents can also be defined for a wide variety of algebraic structures, including matrices.

Exponentiation is used extensively in many fields, including economics, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science, with applications such as compound interest, population growth, chemical reaction kinetics, wave behavior, and public-key cryptography.

## History of the notation

The term power was used by the Greek mathematician Euclid for the square of a line.[1] Archimedes discovered and proved the law of exponents, 10a 10b = 10a+b, necessary to manipulate powers of 10.[2] In the 9th century, the Persian mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī used the terms mal for a square and kahb for a cube, which later Islamic mathematicians represented in mathematical notation as m and k, respectively, by the 15th century, as seen in the work of Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī.[3]

In the late 16th century, Jost Bürgi used Roman numerals for exponents.[4]

Early in the 17th century, the first form of our modern exponential notation was introduced by Rene Descartes in his text titled La Géométrie; there, the notation is introduced in Book I.[5]

Nicolas Chuquet used a form of exponential notation in the 15th century, which was later used by Henricus Grammateus and Michael Stifel in the 16th century. The word "exponent" was coined in 1544 by Michael Stifel.[6] Samuel Jeake introduced the term indices in 1696.[1] In the 16th century Robert Recorde used the terms square, cube, zenzizenzic (fourth power), sursolid (fifth), zenzicube (sixth), second sursolid (seventh), and zenzizenzizenzic (eighth).[7] Biquadrate has been used to refer to the fourth power as well.

Some mathematicians (e.g., Isaac Newton) used exponents only for powers greater than two, preferring to represent squares as repeated multiplication. Thus they would write polynomials, for example, as ax + bxx + cx3 + d.

Another historical synonym, involution,[8] is now rare and should not be confused with its more common meaning.

In 1748 Leonhard Euler wrote "consider exponentials or powers in which the exponent itself is a variable. It is clear that quantities of this kind are not algebraic functions, since in those the exponents must be constant."[9] With this introduction of transcendental functions, Euler laid the foundation for the modern introduction of natural logarithm as the inverse function for y = ex.

## Terminology

The expression b2 = bb is called the square of b because the area of a square with side-length b is b2. It is pronounced "b squared".

The expression b3 = bbb is called the cube of b because the volume of a cube with side-length b is b3. It is pronounced "b cubed".

The exponent indicates how many copies of the base are multiplied together. For example, 35 = 3 ⋅ 3 ⋅ 3 ⋅ 3 ⋅ 3 = 243. The base 3 appears 5 times in the repeated multiplication, because the exponent is 5. Here, 3 is the base, 5 is the exponent, and 243 is the power or, more specifically, the fifth power of 3, 3 raised to the fifth power, or 3 to the power of 5.

The word "raised" is usually omitted, and very often "power" as well, so 35 is typically pronounced "three to the fifth" or "three to the five". Therefore, the exponentiation bn can be read as b raised to the n-th power, or b raised to the power of n, or b raised by the exponent of n, or most briefly as b to the n.

Exponentiation may be generalized from integer exponents to more general types of numbers.

## Integer exponents

The exponentiation operation with integer exponents requires only elementary algebra.

### Positive integer exponents

Formally, powers with positive integer exponents may be defined by the initial condition[10]

${\displaystyle b^{1}=b}$

and the recurrence relation

${\displaystyle b^{n+1}=b^{n}\cdot b}$

From the associativity of multiplication, it follows that for any positive integers m and n,

${\displaystyle b^{m+n}=b^{m}\cdot b^{n}}$

### Zero exponent

Any nonzero number raised by the exponent 0 is 1[11]:

${\displaystyle b^{0}=1}$

One interpretation of such a power is as an empty product. The case of 00 is discussed below.

### Negative exponents

The following identity holds for an arbitrary integer n and nonzero b:

${\displaystyle b^{-n}=1/b^{n}}$

Raising 0 by a negative exponent is left undefined.

The identity above may be derived through a definition aimed at extending the range of exponents to negative integers.

For non-zero b and positive n, the recurrence relation from the previous subsection can be rewritten as

${\displaystyle b^{n}={b^{n+1}}/{b},\quad n\geq 1.}$

By defining this relation as valid for all integer n and nonzero b, it follows that

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}b^{0}&={b^{1}}/{b}=1\\b^{-1}&={b^{0}}/{b}={1}/{b}\end{aligned}}}

and more generally for any nonzero b and any nonnegative integer n,

${\displaystyle b^{-n}={1}/{b^{n}}.}$

This is then readily shown to be true for every integer n.

### Combinatorial interpretation

For nonnegative integers n and m, the power nm is the number of functions from a set of m elements to a set of n elements (see cardinal exponentiation). Such functions can be represented as m-tuples from an n-element set (or as m-letter words from an n-letter alphabet).

 05 = │ { } │ = 0 There is no 5-tuple from the empty set. 14 = │ { (1,1,1,1) } │ = 1 There is one 4-tuple from a one-element set. 23 = │ { (1,1,1), (1,1,2), (1,2,1), (1,2,2), (2,1,1), (2,1,2), (2,2,1), (2,2,2) } │ = 8 There are eight 3-tuples from a two-element set. 32 = │ { (1,1), (1,2), (1,3), (2,1), (2,2), (2,3), (3,1), (3,2), (3,3) } │ = 9 There are nine 2-tuples from a three-element set. 41 = │ { (1), (2), (3), (4) } │ = 4 There are four 1-tuples from a four-element set. 50 = │ { () } │ = 1 There is exactly one 0-tuple.

### Identities and properties

The following identities hold for all integer exponents, provided that the base is non-zero:

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}b^{m+n}&=b^{m}\cdot b^{n}\\(b^{m})^{n}&=b^{m\cdot n}\\(b\cdot c)^{n}&=b^{n}\cdot c^{n}\end{aligned}}}

Exponentiation is not commutative. This contrasts with addition and multiplication, which are. For example, 2 + 3 = 3 + 2 = 5 and 2 ⋅ 3 = 3 ⋅ 2 = 6, but 23 = 8, whereas 32 = 9.

Exponentiation is not associative either. Addition and multiplication are. For example, (2 + 3) + 4 = 2 + (3 + 4) = 9 and (2 ⋅ 3) ⋅ 4 = 2 ⋅ (3 ⋅ 4) = 24, but 23 to the 4 is 84 or 4096, whereas 2 to the 34 is 281 or 2417851639229258349412352. Without parentheses to modify the order of calculation, by convention the order is top-down, not bottom-up[citation needed]:

${\displaystyle b^{p^{q}}=b^{(p^{q})}\neq (b^{p})^{q}=b^{(p\cdot q)}=b^{p\cdot q}.}$

While Google and WolframAlpha follow the above convention, note that some computer programs such as Microsoft Office Excel or Matlab associate to the left instead, i.e. a^b^c is evaluated as (a^b)^c.

### Particular bases

#### Powers of ten

In the base ten (decimal) number system, integer powers of 10 are written as the digit 1 followed or preceded by a number of zeroes determined by the sign and magnitude of the exponent. For example, 103 = 1000 and 10−4 = 0.0001.

Exponentiation with base 10 is used in scientific notation to denote large or small numbers. For instance, 299792458 m/s (the speed of light in vacuum, in metres per second) can be written as 2.99792458×108 m/s and then approximated as 2.998×108 m/s.

SI prefixes based on powers of 10 are also used to describe small or large quantities. For example, the prefix kilo means 103 = 1000, so a kilometre is 1000 m.

#### Powers of two

The positive powers of 2 are important in computer science because there are 2n possible values for an n-bit binary number.

Powers of 2 are important in set theory since a set with n members has a power set, or set of all subsets of the original set, with 2n members.

The negative powers of 2 are commonly used, and the first two have special names: half and quarter.

In the base 2 (binary) number system, integer powers of 2 are written as 1 followed or preceded by a number of zeroes determined by the sign and magnitude of the exponent. For example, two to the power of three is written as 1000 in binary.

#### Powers of one

The powers of one are all one: 1n = 1.

#### Powers of zero

If the exponent is positive, the power of zero is zero: 0n = 0, where n > 0.

If the exponent is negative, the power of zero (0n, where n < 0) is undefined, because division by zero is implied.

If the exponent is zero, some authors define 00 = 1, whereas others leave it undefined, as discussed below under § Zero to the power of zero.

#### Powers of minus one

If n is an even integer, then (−1)n = 1.

If n is an odd integer, then (−1)n = −1.

Because of this, powers of −1 are useful for expressing alternating sequences. For a similar discussion of powers of the complex number i, see § Powers of complex numbers.

### Large exponents

The limit of a sequence of powers of a number greater than one diverges; in other words, the sequence grows without bound:

bn → ∞ as n → ∞ when b > 1

This can be read as "b to the power of n tends to +∞ as n tends to infinity when b is greater than one".

Powers of a number with absolute value less than one tend to zero:

bn → 0 as n → ∞ when | b | < 1

Any power of one is always one:

bn = 1 for all n if b = 1

If the number b varies tending to 1 as the exponent tends to infinity then the limit is not necessarily one of those above. A particularly important case is

(1 + 1/n)ne as n → ∞

See § The exponential function below.

Other limits, in particular of those that take on an indeterminate form, are described in § Limits of powers below.

## Rational exponents

From top to bottom: x1/8, x1/4, x1/2, x1, x2, x4, x8.

An nth root of a number b is a number x such that xn = b.

If b is a positive real number and n is a positive integer, then there is exactly one positive real solution to xn = b. This solution is called the principal nth root of b. It is denoted nb, where    is the radical symbol; alternatively, the principal root may be written b1/n. For example: 41/2 = 2, 81/3 = 2.

The fact that ${\displaystyle x=b^{1/n}}$ solves ${\displaystyle x^{n}=b}$ follows from noting that

${\displaystyle x^{n}=\underbrace {b^{\frac {1}{n}}\times b^{\frac {1}{n}}\times \cdots \times b^{\frac {1}{n}}} _{n}=b^{\left({\frac {1}{n}}+{\frac {1}{n}}+\cdots +{\frac {1}{n}}\right)}=b^{\frac {n}{n}}=b^{1}=b.}$

If n is even, then xn = b has two real solutions if b is positive, which are the positive and negative nth roots (the positive one being denoted ${\displaystyle b^{1/n}}$). If b is negative, the equation has no solution in real numbers for even n.

If n is odd, then xn = b has one real solution. The solution is positive if b is positive and negative if b is negative.

The principal root of a positive real number b with a rational exponent u/v in lowest terms satisfies

${\displaystyle b^{\frac {u}{v}}=\left(b^{u}\right)^{\frac {1}{v}}={\sqrt[{v}]{b^{u}}}}$

where u is an integer and v is a positive integer.

Rational powers u/v, where u/v is in lowest terms, are positive if u is even (and hence v is odd) (because then bu is positive), and negative for negative b if u and v are odd (because then bu is negative). There are two roots, one of each sign, if b is positive and v is even (as exemplified by the case in which u = 1 and v = 2, whereby a positive b has two square roots); in this case the principal root is defined to be the positive one.

Thus we have (−27)1/3 = −3 and (−27)2/3 = 9. The number 4 has two 3/2th roots, namely 8 and −8; however, by convention 43/2 denotes the principal root, which is 8. Since there is no real number x such that x2 = −1, the definition of bu/v when b is negative and v is even must use the imaginary unit i, as described more fully in the section § Powers of complex numbers.

Care needs to be taken when applying the power identities with negative nth roots (i.e. negative bases). For instance:

${\displaystyle -27=(-27)^{((2/3)(3/2))}=((-27)^{2/3})^{3/2}=9^{3/2}=27}$

is clearly wrong. The problem here occurs in taking the positive square root rather than the negative one starting from the third term, i.e.

${\displaystyle ((-27)^{2/3})^{3/2}={\sqrt {\left({\sqrt[{3}]{(-27)^{2}}}\right)^{3}}}={\sqrt {(-27)^{2}}}\neq -27.}$

In general the same sorts of problems occur as described for complex numbers in the section § Failure of power and logarithm identities.

## Real exponents

The identities and properties shown above for integer exponents are true for positive real numbers with non-integer exponents as well. However the identity

${\displaystyle (b^{r})^{s}=b^{r\cdot s}}$

cannot be extended consistently to cases where b is a negative real number (see § Real exponents with negative bases). The failure of this identity is the basis for the problems with complex number powers detailed under § Failure of power and logarithm identities.

Exponentiation to real powers of positive real numbers can be defined either by extending the rational powers to reals by continuity, or more usually as given in § Powers via logarithms below.

### Limits of rational exponents

Because the exponential function is continuous we find ${\displaystyle \lim _{n\to \infty }e^{x_{n}}=e^{\lim _{n\to \infty }x_{n}}}$ for convergent sequences (xn). This is shown here for xn = 1/n.

Since any irrational number can be expressed as the limit of a sequence of rational numbers, exponentiation of a positive real number b with an arbitrary real exponent x can be defined by continuity with the rule[12]

${\displaystyle b^{x}=\lim _{r(\in \mathbb {Q} )\to x}b^{r}\quad (b\in \mathbb {R} ^{+},\,x\in \mathbb {R} )}$

where the limit as r gets close to x is taken only over rational values of r. This limit only exists for positive b. The (εδ)-definition of limit is used, this involves showing that for any desired accuracy of the result bx one can choose a sufficiently small interval around x so all the rational powers in the interval are within the desired accuracy.

For example, if x = π, the nonterminating decimal representation π = 3.14159... can be used (based on strict monotonicity of the rational power) to obtain the intervals bounded by rational powers

${\displaystyle [b^{3},b^{4}]}$, ${\displaystyle [b^{3.1},b^{3.2}]}$, ${\displaystyle [b^{3.14},b^{3.15}]}$, ${\displaystyle [b^{3.141},b^{3.142}]}$, ${\displaystyle [b^{3.1415},b^{3.1416}]}$, ${\displaystyle [b^{3.14159},b^{3.14160}]}$, ...

The bounded intervals converge to a unique real number, denoted by ${\displaystyle b^{\pi }}$. This technique can be used to obtain the power of a positive real number b for any irrational exponent. The function fb(x) = bx is thus defined for any real number x.

### The exponential function

The important mathematical constant e, sometimes called Euler's number, is approximately equal to 2.718 and is the base of the natural logarithm. Although exponentiation of e could, in principle, be treated the same as exponentiation of any other real number, such exponentials turn out to have particularly elegant and useful properties. Among other things, these properties allow exponentials of e to be generalized in a natural way to other types of exponents, such as complex numbers or even matrices, while coinciding with the familiar meaning of exponentiation with rational exponents.

As a consequence, the notation ex usually denotes a generalized exponentiation definition called the exponential function, exp(x), which can be defined in many equivalent ways, for example by:

${\displaystyle \exp(x)=\lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }\left(1+{\frac {x}{n}}\right)^{n}}$

Among other properties, exp satisfies the exponential identity

${\displaystyle \exp(x+y)=\exp(x)\cdot \exp(y).}$

The exponential function is defined for all integer, fractional, real, and complex values of x. In fact, the matrix exponential is well-defined for square matrices (in which case this exponential identity only holds when x and y commute), and is useful for solving systems of linear differential equations.

Since exp(1) is equal to e and exp(x) satisfies this exponential identity, it immediately follows that exp(x) coincides with the repeated-multiplication definition of ex for integer x, and it also follows that rational powers denote (positive) roots as usual, so exp(x) coincides with the ex definitions in the previous section for all real x by continuity.

### Powers via logarithms

The natural logarithm ln(x) is the inverse of the exponential function ex. It is defined for b > 0, and satisfies

${\displaystyle b=e^{\ln b}}$

If bx is to preserve the logarithm and exponent rules, then one must have

${\displaystyle b^{x}=(e^{\ln b})^{x}=e^{x\cdot \ln b}}$

for each real number x.

This can be used as an alternative definition of the real number power bx and agrees with the definition given above using rational exponents and continuity. The definition of exponentiation using logarithms is more common in the context of complex numbers, as discussed below.

### Real exponents with negative bases

Powers of a positive real number are always positive real numbers. The solution of x2 = 4, however, can be either 2 or −2. The principal value of 41/2 is 2, but −2 is also a valid square root. If the definition of exponentiation of real numbers is extended to allow negative results then the result is no longer well-behaved.

Neither the logarithm method nor the rational exponent method can be used to define br as a real number for a negative real number b and an arbitrary real number r. Indeed, er is positive for every real number r, so ln(b) is not defined as a real number for b ≤ 0.

The rational exponent method cannot be used for negative values of b because it relies on continuity. The function f(r) = br has a unique continuous extension[12] from the rational numbers to the real numbers for each b > 0. But when b < 0, the function f is not even continuous on the set of rational numbers r for which it is defined.

For example, consider b = −1. The nth root of −1 is −1 for every odd natural number n. So if n is an odd positive integer, (−1)(m/n) = −1 if m is odd, and (−1)(m/n) = 1 if m is even. Thus the set of rational numbers q for which (−1)q = 1 is dense in the rational numbers, as is the set of q for which (−1)q = −1. This means that the function (−1)q is not continuous at any rational number q where it is defined.

On the other hand, arbitrary complex powers of negative numbers b can be defined by choosing a complex logarithm of b.

### Irrational exponents

If a is a positive algebraic number, and b is a rational number, it has been shown above that ab is algebraic. This remains true even if one accepts any algebraic number for a, with the only difference that ab may take several values (see below), all algebraic. The Gelfond–Schneider theorem provides some information on the nature of ab when b is irrational (that is not rational). It states:

If a is an algebraic number different from 0 and 1, and b an irrational algebraic number, then all the values of ab are transcendental numbers (that is, not algebraic).

## Complex exponents with positive real bases

### Imaginary exponents with base e

The exponential function ez can be defined as the limit of (1 + z/N)N, as N approaches infinity, and thus e is the limit of (1 + /N)N. In this animation N takes values increasing from 1 to 100. The computation of (1 + /N)N is displayed as the combined effect of N repeated multiplications in the complex plane, so that (1 + /N)k, k = 0 ... N are the vertices of a polygonal path whose final, leftmost endpoint is the actual value of (1 + /N)N. It can be seen that as N gets larger (1 + /N)N approaches a limit of −1. Therefore, e = −1, which is known as Euler's identity.

A complex number is an expression of the form ${\displaystyle z=x+iy}$, where x and y are real numbers, and i is the so-called imaginary unit, a number that satisfies the rule ${\displaystyle i^{2}=-1}$. A complex number can be visualized as a point in the (x,y) plane. The polar coordinates of a point in the (x,y) plane consist of a non-negative real number r and angle θ such that x = r cos θ and y = r sin θ. So

${\displaystyle x+iy=r(\cos \theta +i\sin \theta ).}$

The product of two complex numbers z1 = x1 + iy1, z2 = x2 + iy2 is obtained by expanding out the product of the binomials and simplifying using the rule ${\displaystyle i^{2}=-1}$:

${\displaystyle z_{1}z_{2}=(x_{1}+iy_{1})(x_{2}+iy_{2})=(x_{1}x_{2}-y_{1}y_{2})+i(x_{1}y_{2}+x_{2}y_{1}).}$

As a consequence of the angle sum formulas of trigonometry, if z1 and z2 have polar coordinates (r1, θ1), (r2, θ2), then their product z1z2 has polar coordinates equal to (r1r2, θ1 + θ2).

Consider the right triangle in the complex plane which has 0, 1, 1 + ix/n as vertices. For large values of n, the triangle is almost a circular sector with a radius of 1 and a small central angle equal to x/n radians. 1 + ix/n may then be approximated by the number with polar coordinates (1, x/n). So, in the limit as n approaches infinity, (1 + ix/n)n approaches (1, x/n)n = (1n, nx/n) = (1, x), the point on the unit circle whose angle from the positive real axis is x radians. The Cartesian coordinates of this point are (cos x, sin x). So e ix = cos x + isin x; this is Euler's formula, connecting algebra to trigonometry by means of complex numbers.

The solutions to the equation ez = 1 are the integer multiples of 2πi:

${\displaystyle \{z:e^{z}=1\}=\{2k\pi i:k\in \mathbb {Z} \}}$

More generally, if ev = w, then every solution to ez = w can be obtained by adding an integer multiple of 2πi to v:

${\displaystyle \{z:e^{z}=w\}=\{v+2k\pi i:k\in \mathbb {Z} \}}$

Thus the complex exponential function is a periodic function with period 2πi.

More simply: e = −1; ex + iy = ex(cos y + i sin y).

### Trigonometric functions

It follows from Euler's formula stated above that the trigonometric functions cosine and sine are

${\displaystyle \cos(z)={\frac {e^{iz}+e^{-iz}}{2}};\qquad \sin(z)={\frac {e^{iz}-e^{-iz}}{2i}}}$

Before the invention of complex numbers, cosine and sine were defined geometrically. The above formula reduces the complicated formulas for trigonometric functions of a sum into the simple exponentiation formula

${\displaystyle e^{i(x+y)}=e^{ix}\cdot e^{iy}}$

Using exponentiation with complex exponents may reduce problems in trigonometry to algebra.

### Complex exponents with base e

The power z = ex + iy can be computed as exeiy. The real factor ex is the absolute value of z and the complex factor eiy identifies the direction of z.

### Complex exponents with positive real bases

If b is a positive real number, and z is any complex number, the power bz is defined as ez ⋅ ln(b), where x = ln(b) is the unique real solution to the equation ex = b. So the same method working for real exponents also works for complex exponents.

For example:

${\displaystyle 2^{i}=e^{i\ln(2)}=\cos(\ln(2))+i\sin(\ln(2))\approx 0.76924+0.63896i}$
${\displaystyle e^{i}\approx 0.54030+0.84147i}$
${\displaystyle (e^{2\pi })^{i}={535.49176\dots }^{i}=1}$

The identity (bz)u=bzu is not generally valid for complex powers. The power bz is a complex number and any power of it has to follow the rules for powers of complex numbers below. A simple counterexample is given by:

${\displaystyle (e^{2\pi i})^{i}=1^{i}=1\neq e^{-2\pi }=e^{2\pi i\cdot i}}$

The identity is, however, valid for arbitrary complex ${\displaystyle z}$ when ${\displaystyle u}$ is an integer.

## Powers of complex numbers

Integer powers of nonzero complex numbers are defined by repeated multiplication or division as above. If i is the imaginary unit and n is an integer, then in equals 1, i, −1, or −i, according to whether the integer n is congruent to 0, 1, 2, or 3 modulo 4. Because of this, the powers of i are useful for expressing sequences of period 4.

Complex powers of positive reals are defined via ex as in section Complex exponents with positive real bases above. These are continuous functions.

Trying to extend these functions to the general case of noninteger powers of complex numbers that are not positive reals leads to difficulties. Either we define discontinuous functions or multivalued functions. Neither of these options is entirely satisfactory.

The rational power of a complex number must be the solution to an algebraic equation. Therefore, it always has a finite number of possible values. For example, w = z1/2 must be a solution to the equation w2 = z. But if w is a solution, then so is −w, because (−1)2 = 1. A unique but somewhat arbitrary solution called the principal value can be chosen using a general rule which also applies for nonrational powers.

Complex powers and logarithms are more naturally handled as single valued functions on a Riemann surface. Single valued versions are defined by choosing a sheet. The value has a discontinuity along a branch cut. Choosing one out of many solutions as the principal value leaves us with functions that are not continuous, and the usual rules for manipulating powers can lead us astray.

Any nonrational power of a complex number has an infinite number of possible values because of the multi-valued nature of the complex logarithm. The principal value is a single value chosen from these by a rule which, amongst its other properties, ensures powers of complex numbers with a positive real part and zero imaginary part give the same value as does the rule defined above for the corresponding real base.

Exponentiating a real number to a complex power is formally a different operation from that for the corresponding complex number. However, in the common case of a positive real number the principal value is the same.

The powers of negative real numbers are not always defined and are discontinuous even where defined. In fact, they are only defined when the exponent is a rational number with the denominator being an odd integer. When dealing with complex numbers the complex number operation is normally used instead.

### Complex exponents with complex bases

For complex numbers w and z with w ≠ 0, the notation wz is ambiguous in the same sense that log w is.

To obtain a value of wz, first choose a logarithm of w; call it log w. Such a choice may be the principal value Log w (the default, if no other specification is given), or perhaps a value given by some other branch of log w fixed in advance. Then, using the complex exponential function one defines

${\displaystyle w^{z}=e^{z\log w}}$

because this agrees with the earlier definition in the case where w is a positive real number and the (real) principal value of log w is used.

If z is an integer, then the value of wz is independent of the choice of log w, and it agrees with the earlier definition of exponentiation with an integer exponent.

If z is a rational number m/n in lowest terms with z > 0, then the countably infinitely many choices of log w yield only n different values for wz; these values are the n complex solutions s to the equation sn = wm.

If z is an irrational number, then the countably infinitely many choices of log w lead to infinitely many distinct values for wz.

The computation of complex powers is facilitated by converting the base w to polar form, as described in detail below.

A similar construction is employed in quaternions.

### Complex roots of unity

The three 3rd roots of 1

A complex number w such that wn = 1 for a positive integer n is an nth root of unity. Geometrically, the nth roots of unity lie on the unit circle of the complex plane at the vertices of a regular n-gon with one vertex on the real number 1.

If wn = 1 but wk ≠ 1 for all natural numbers k such that 0 < k < n, then w is called a primitive nth root of unity. The negative unit −1 is the only primitive square root of unity. The imaginary unit i is one of the two primitive 4th roots of unity; the other one is −i.

The number e2πi/n is the primitive nth root of unity with the smallest positive argument. (It is sometimes called the principal nth root of unity, although this terminology is not universal and should not be confused with the principal value of n1, which is 1.[13])

The other nth roots of unity are given by

${\displaystyle \left(e^{{\frac {2}{n}}\pi i}\right)^{k}=e^{{\frac {2}{n}}\pi ik}}$

for 2 ≤ kn.

### Roots of arbitrary complex numbers

Although there are infinitely many possible values for a general complex logarithm, there are only a finite number of values for the power wq in the important special case where q = 1/n and n is a positive integer. These are the nth roots of w; they are solutions of the equation zn = w. As with real roots, a second root is also called a square root and a third root is also called a cube root.

It is conventional in mathematics to define w1/n as the principal value of the root. If w is a positive real number, it is also conventional to select a positive real number as the principal value of the root w1/n. For general complex numbers, the nth root with the smallest argument is often selected as the principal value of the nth root operation, as with principal values of roots of unity.

The set of nth roots of a complex number w is obtained by multiplying the principal value w1/n by each of the nth roots of unity. For example, the fourth roots of 16 are 2, −2, 2i, and −2i, because the principal value of the fourth root of 16 is 2 and the fourth roots of unity are 1, −1, i, and −i.

### Computing complex powers

It is often easier to compute complex powers by writing the number to be exponentiated in polar form. Every complex number z can be written in the polar form

${\displaystyle z=re^{i\theta }=e^{\log(r)+i\theta }}$

where r is a nonnegative real number and θ is the (real) argument of z. The polar form has a simple geometric interpretation: if a complex number u + iv is thought of as representing a point (u, v) in the complex plane using Cartesian coordinates, then (r, θ) is the same point in polar coordinates. That is, r is the "radius" r2 = u2 + v2 and θ is the "angle" θ = atan2(v, u). The polar angle θ is ambiguous since any integer multiple of 2π could be added to θ without changing the location of the point. Each choice of θ gives in general a different possible value of the power. A branch cut can be used to choose a specific value. The principal value (the most common branch cut), corresponds to θ chosen in the interval (−π, π]. For complex numbers with a positive real part and zero imaginary part using the principal value gives the same result as using the corresponding real number.

In order to compute the complex power wz, write w in polar form:

${\displaystyle w=re^{i\theta }}$

Then

${\displaystyle \log(w)=\log(r)+i\theta }$

and thus

${\displaystyle w^{z}=e^{z\log(w)}=e^{z(\log(r)+i\theta )}}$

If z is decomposed as c + di, then the formula for wz can be written more explicitly as

${\displaystyle \left(r^{c}e^{-d\theta }\right)e^{i(d\log(r)+c\theta )}=\left(r^{c}e^{-d\theta }\right)\left[\cos(d\log(r)+c\theta )+i\sin(d\log(r)+c\theta )\right]}$

This final formula allows complex powers to be computed easily from decompositions of the base into polar form and the exponent into Cartesian form. It is shown here both in polar form and in Cartesian form (via Euler's identity).

The following examples use the principal value, the branch cut which causes θ to be in the interval (−π, π]. To compute ii, write i in polar and Cartesian forms:

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}i&=1\cdot e^{{\frac {1}{2}}i\pi }\\i&=0+1i\end{aligned}}}

Then the formula above, with r = 1, θ = π/2, c = 0, and d = 1, yields:

${\displaystyle i^{i}=\left(1^{0}e^{-{\frac {1}{2}}\pi }\right)e^{i\left[1\cdot \log(1)+0\cdot {\frac {1}{2}}\pi \right]}=e^{-{\frac {1}{2}}\pi }\approx 0.2079}$

Similarly, to find (−2)3 + 4i, compute the polar form of −2,

${\displaystyle -2=2e^{i\pi }}$

and use the formula above to compute

${\displaystyle (-2)^{3+4i}=\left(2^{3}e^{-4\pi }\right)e^{i[4\log(2)+3\pi ]}\approx (2.602-1.006i)\cdot 10^{-5}}$

The value of a complex power depends on the branch used. For example, if the polar form i = 1e5πi/2 is used to compute ii, the power is found to be e−5π/2; the principal value of ii, computed above, is e−π/2. The set of all possible values for ii is given by:[14]

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}i&=1\cdot e^{{\frac {1}{2}}i\pi +i2\pi k}{\big |}k\in \mathbb {Z} \\i^{i}&=e^{i\left({\frac {1}{2}}i\pi +i2\pi k\right)}\\&=e^{-\left({\frac {1}{2}}\pi +2\pi k\right)}\end{aligned}}}

So there is an infinity of values which are possible candidates for the value of ii, one for each integer k. All of them have a zero imaginary part so one can say ii has an infinity of valid real values.

### Failure of power and logarithm identities

Some identities for powers and logarithms for positive real numbers will fail for complex numbers, no matter how complex powers and complex logarithms are defined as single-valued functions. For example:

• The identity log(bx) = x ⋅ log b holds whenever b is a positive real number and x is a real number. But for the principal branch of the complex logarithm one has
${\displaystyle i\pi =\log(-1)=\log \left[(-i)^{2}\right]\neq 2\log(-i)=2\left(-{\frac {i\pi }{2}}\right)=-i\pi }$
Regardless of which branch of the logarithm is used, a similar failure of the identity will exist. The best that can be said (if only using this result) is that:
${\displaystyle \log(w^{z})\equiv z\cdot \log(w){\pmod {2\pi i}}}$
This identity does not hold even when considering log as a multivalued function. The possible values of log(wz) contain those of z ⋅ log w as a subset. Using Log(w) for the principal value of log(w) and m, n as any integers the possible values of both sides are:
{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}\left\{\log(w^{z})\right\}&=\left\{z\cdot \operatorname {Log} (w)+z\cdot 2\pi in+2\pi im\right\}\\\left\{z\cdot \log(w)\right\}&=\left\{z\cdot \operatorname {Log} (w)+z\cdot 2\pi in\right\}\end{aligned}}}
• The identities (bc)x = bxcx and (b/c)x = bx/cx are valid when b and c are positive real numbers and x is a real number. But a calculation using principal branches shows that
${\displaystyle 1=(-1\times -1)^{\frac {1}{2}}\not =(-1)^{\frac {1}{2}}(-1)^{\frac {1}{2}}=-1}$
and
${\displaystyle i=(-1)^{\frac {1}{2}}=\left({\frac {1}{-1}}\right)^{\frac {1}{2}}\not ={\frac {1^{\frac {1}{2}}}{(-1)^{\frac {1}{2}}}}={\frac {1}{i}}=-i}$
On the other hand, when x is an integer, the identities are valid for all nonzero complex numbers.
If exponentiation is considered as a multivalued function then the possible values of (−1×−1)1/2 are {1, −1}. The identity holds but saying {1} = {(−1×−1)1/2} is wrong.
• The identity (ex)y = exy holds for real numbers x and y, but assuming its truth for complex numbers leads to the following paradox, discovered in 1827 by Clausen:[15]
For any integer n, we have:
1. ${\displaystyle e^{1+2\pi in}=e^{1}e^{2\pi in}=e\cdot 1=e}$
2. ${\displaystyle \left(e^{1+2\pi in}\right)^{1+2\pi in}=e}$
3. ${\displaystyle e^{1+4\pi in-4\pi ^{2}n^{2}}=e}$
4. ${\displaystyle e^{1}e^{4\pi in}e^{-4\pi ^{2}n^{2}}=e}$
5. ${\displaystyle e^{-4\pi ^{2}n^{2}}=1}$
but this is false when the integer n is nonzero.
There are a number of problems in the reasoning:
The major error is that changing the order of exponentiation in going from line two to three changes what the principal value chosen will be.
From the multi-valued point of view, the first error occurs even sooner. Implicit in the first line is that e is a real number, whereas the result of e1+2πin is a complex number better represented as e+0i. Substituting the complex number for the real on the second line makes the power have multiple possible values. Changing the order of exponentiation from lines two to three also affects how many possible values the result can have. ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle (e^{z})^{w}\;\neq \;e^{zw}}$, but rather ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle (e^{z})^{w}\;=\;e^{(z\,+\,2\pi in)w}}$ multivalued over integers n.

## Generalizations

### Monoids

Exponentiation can be defined in any monoid.[16] A monoid is an algebraic structure consisting of a set X together with a rule for composition ("multiplication") satisfying an associative law and a multiplicative identity, denoted by 1. Exponentiation is defined inductively by:

• ${\displaystyle x^{0}=1}$ for all ${\displaystyle x\in X}$
• ${\displaystyle x^{n+1}=x^{n}x}$ for all ${\displaystyle x\in X}$ and non-negative integers n
• If n is a negative integer then ${\displaystyle x^{n}}$ is only defined[17] if ${\displaystyle x}$ has an inverse in X.

Monoids include many structures of importance in mathematics, including groups and rings (under multiplication), with more specific examples of the latter being matrix rings and fields.

### Matrices and linear operators

If A is a square matrix, then the product of A with itself n times is called the matrix power. Also ${\displaystyle A^{0}}$ is defined to be the identity matrix,[18] and if A is invertible, then ${\displaystyle A^{-n}=(A^{-1})^{n}}$.

Matrix powers appear often in the context of discrete dynamical systems, where the matrix A expresses a transition from a state vector x of some system to the next state Ax of the system.[19] This is the standard interpretation of a Markov chain, for example. Then ${\displaystyle A^{2}x}$ is the state of the system after two time steps, and so forth: ${\displaystyle A^{n}x}$ is the state of the system after n time steps. The matrix power ${\displaystyle A^{n}}$ is the transition matrix between the state now and the state at a time n steps in the future. So computing matrix powers is equivalent to solving the evolution of the dynamical system. In many cases, matrix powers can be expediently computed by using eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Apart from matrices, more general linear operators can also be exponentiated. An example is the derivative operator of calculus, ${\displaystyle d/dx}$, which is a linear operator acting on functions ${\displaystyle f(x)}$ to give a new function ${\displaystyle (d/dx)f(x)=f'(x)}$. The n-th power of the differentiation operator is the n-th derivative:

${\displaystyle \left({\frac {d}{dx}}\right)^{n}f(x)={\frac {d^{n}}{dx^{n}}}f(x)=f^{(n)}(x).}$

These examples are for discrete exponents of linear operators, but in many circumstances it is also desirable to define powers of such operators with continuous exponents. This is the starting point of the mathematical theory of semigroups.[20] Just as computing matrix powers with discrete exponents solves discrete dynamical systems, so does computing matrix powers with continuous exponents solve systems with continuous dynamics. Examples include approaches to solving the heat equation, Schrödinger equation, wave equation, and other partial differential equations including a time evolution. The special case of exponentiating the derivative operator to a non-integer power is called the fractional derivative which, together with the fractional integral, is one of the basic operations of the fractional calculus.

### Finite fields

A field is an algebraic structure in which multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division are all well-defined and satisfy their familiar properties. The real numbers, for example, form a field, as do the complex numbers and rational numbers. Unlike these familiar examples of fields, which are all infinite sets, some fields have only finitely many elements. The simplest example is the field with two elements ${\displaystyle F_{2}=\{0,1\}}$ with addition defined by ${\displaystyle 0+1=1+0=1}$ and ${\displaystyle 0+0=1+1=0}$, and multiplication ${\displaystyle 0\cdot 0=1\cdot 0=0\cdot 1=0}$ and ${\displaystyle 1\cdot 1=1}$.

Exponentiation in finite fields has applications in public key cryptography. For example, the Diffie–Hellman key exchange uses the fact that exponentiation is computationally inexpensive in finite fields, whereas the discrete logarithm (the inverse of exponentiation) is computationally expensive.

Any finite field F has the property that there is a unique prime number p such that ${\displaystyle px=0}$ for all x in F; that is, x added to itself p times is zero. For example, in ${\displaystyle F_{2}}$, the prime number p = 2 has this property. This prime number is called the characteristic of the field. Suppose that F is a field of characteristic p, and consider the function ${\displaystyle f(x)=x^{p}}$ that raises each element of F to the power p. This is called the Frobenius automorphism of F. It is an automorphism of the field because of the Freshman's dream identity ${\displaystyle (x+y)^{p}=x^{p}+y^{p}}$. The Frobenius automorphism is important in number theory because it generates the Galois group of F over its prime subfield.

### In abstract algebra

Exponentiation for integer exponents can be defined for quite general structures in abstract algebra.

Let X be a set with a power-associative binary operation which is written multiplicatively. Then xn is defined for any element x of X and any nonzero natural number n as the product of n copies of x, which is recursively defined by

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}x^{1}&=x\\x^{n}&=x^{n-1}x\quad {\hbox{for }}n>1\end{aligned}}}

One has the following properties

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}(x^{i}x^{j})x^{k}&=x^{i}(x^{j}x^{k})\quad {\text{(power-associative property)}}\\x^{m+n}&=x^{m}x^{n}\\(x^{m})^{n}&=x^{mn}\end{aligned}}}

If the operation has a two-sided identity element 1, then x0 is defined to be equal to 1 for any x.

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}x1&=1x=x\quad {\text{(two-sided identity)}}\\x^{0}&=1\end{aligned}}}[citation needed]

If the operation also has two-sided inverses and is associative, then the magma is a group. The inverse of x can be denoted by x−1 and follows all the usual rules for exponents.

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}xx^{-1}&=x^{-1}x=1\quad {\text{(two-sided inverse)}}\\(xy)z&=x(yz)\quad {\text{(associative)}}\\x^{-n}&=\left(x^{-1}\right)^{n}\\x^{m-n}&=x^{m}x^{-n}\end{aligned}}}

If the multiplication operation is commutative (as for instance in abelian groups), then the following holds:

${\displaystyle (xy)^{n}=x^{n}y^{n}}$

If the binary operation is written additively, as it often is for abelian groups, then "exponentiation is repeated multiplication" can be reinterpreted as "multiplication is repeated addition". Thus, each of the laws of exponentiation above has an analogue among laws of multiplication.

When there are several power-associative binary operations defined on a set, any of which might be iterated, it is common to indicate which operation is being repeated by placing its symbol in the superscript. Thus, xn is x ∗ ... ∗ x, while x#n is x # ... # x, whatever the operations ∗ and # might be.

Superscript notation is also used, especially in group theory, to indicate conjugation. That is, gh = h−1gh, where g and h are elements of some group. Although conjugation obeys some of the same laws as exponentiation, it is not an example of repeated multiplication in any sense. A quandle is an algebraic structure in which these laws of conjugation play a central role.

### Over sets

If n is a natural number and A is an arbitrary set, the expression An is often used to denote the set of ordered n-tuples of elements of A. This is equivalent to letting An denote the set of functions from the set {0, 1, 2, ..., n−1} to the set A; the n-tuple (a0, a1, a2, ..., an−1) represents the function that sends i to ai.

For an infinite cardinal number κ and a set A, the notation Aκ is also used to denote the set of all functions from a set of size κ to A. This is sometimes written κA to distinguish it from cardinal exponentiation, defined below.

This generalized exponential can also be defined for operations on sets or for sets with extra structure. For example, in linear algebra, it makes sense to index direct sums of vector spaces over arbitrary index sets. That is, we can speak of

${\displaystyle \bigoplus _{i\in \mathbb {N} }V_{i}}$

where each Vi is a vector space.

Then if Vi = V for each i, the resulting direct sum can be written in exponential notation as VN, or simply VN with the understanding that the direct sum is the default. We can again replace the set N with a cardinal number n to get Vn, although without choosing a specific standard set with cardinality n, this is defined only up to isomorphism. Taking V to be the field R of real numbers (thought of as a vector space over itself) and n to be some natural number, we get the vector space that is most commonly studied in linear algebra, the real vector space Rn.

If the base of the exponentiation operation is a set, the exponentiation operation is the Cartesian product unless otherwise stated. Since multiple Cartesian products produce an n-tuple, which can be represented by a function on a set of appropriate cardinality, SN becomes simply the set of all functions from N to S in this case:

${\displaystyle S^{N}\equiv \{f\colon N\to S\}}$

This fits in with the exponentiation of cardinal numbers, in the sense that | SN | = | S || N |, where | X | is the cardinality of X. When "2" is defined as {0, 1}, we have | 2X | = 2| X |, where 2X, usually denoted by P(X), is the power set of X; each subset Y of X corresponds uniquely to a function on X taking the value 1 for xY and 0 for xY.

### In category theory

In a Cartesian closed category, the exponential operation can be used to raise an arbitrary object to the power of another object. This generalizes the Cartesian product in the category of sets. If 0 is an initial object in a Cartesian closed category, then the exponential object 00 is isomorphic to any terminal object 1.

### Of cardinal and ordinal numbers

In set theory, there are exponential operations for cardinal and ordinal numbers.

If κ and λ are cardinal numbers, the expression κλ represents the cardinality of the set of functions from any set of cardinality λ to any set of cardinality κ.[21] If κ and λ are finite, then this agrees with the ordinary arithmetic exponential operation. For example, the set of 3-tuples of elements from a 2-element set has cardinality 8 = 23. In cardinal arithmetic, κ0 is always 1 (even if κ is an infinite cardinal or zero).

Exponentiation of cardinal numbers is distinct from exponentiation of ordinal numbers, which is defined by a limit process involving transfinite induction.

## Repeated exponentiation

Just as exponentiation of natural numbers is motivated by repeated multiplication, it is possible to define an operation based on repeated exponentiation; this operation is sometimes called hyper-4 or tetration. Iterating tetration leads to another operation, and so on, a concept named hyperoperation. This sequence of operations is expressed by the Ackermann function and Knuth's up-arrow notation. Just as exponentiation grows faster than multiplication, which is faster-growing than addition, tetration is faster-growing than exponentiation. Evaluated at (3, 3), the functions addition, multiplication, exponentiation, and tetration yield 6, 9, 27, and 7625597484987 (= 327 = 333 = 33) respectively.

## Zero to the power of zero

### Discrete exponents

There are many widely used formulas having terms involving natural-number exponents that require 00 to be evaluated to 1. For example, regarding b0 as an empty product assigns it the value 1, even when b = 0. Alternatively, the combinatorial interpretation of b0 is the number of empty tuples of elements from a set with b elements; there is exactly one empty tuple, even if b = 0. Equivalently, the set-theoretic interpretation of 00 is the number of functions from the empty set to the empty set; there is exactly one such function, the empty function.[21]

### Polynomials and power series

Likewise, when working with polynomials, it is often necessary to assign ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ the value 1. A polynomial is an expression of the form ${\displaystyle a_{0}x^{0}+\cdots +a_{n}x^{n}}$ where x is an indeterminate, and the coefficients ${\displaystyle a_{n}}$ are real numbers (or, more generally, elements of some ring). The set of all real polynomials in x is denoted by ${\displaystyle \mathbb {R} [x]}$. Polynomials are added termwise, and multiplied by the applying the usual rules for exponents in the indeterminate x (see Cauchy product). With these algebraic rules for manipulation, polynomials form a polynomial ring. The polynomial ${\displaystyle x^{0}}$ is the identity element of the polynomial ring, meaning that it is the (unique) element such that the product of ${\displaystyle x^{0}}$ with any polynomial ${\displaystyle p(x)}$ is just ${\displaystyle p(x)}$.[22] Polynomials can be evaluated by specializing the indeterminate x to be a real number. More precisely, for any given real number ${\displaystyle x_{0}}$ there is a unique unital ring homomorphism ${\displaystyle \operatorname {ev} _{x_{0}}:\mathbb {R} [x]\to \mathbb {R} }$ such that ${\displaystyle \operatorname {ev} _{x_{0}}(x^{1})=x_{0}}$.[23] This is called the evaluation homomorphism. Because it is a unital homomorphism, we have ${\displaystyle \operatorname {ev} _{x_{0}}(x^{0})=1.}$ That is, ${\displaystyle x^{0}=1}$ for all specializations of x to a real number (including zero).

This perspective is significant for many polynomial identities appearing in combinatorics. For example, the binomial theorem ${\displaystyle (1+x)^{n}=\sum _{k=0}^{n}{\binom {n}{k}}x^{k}}$ is not valid for x = 0 unless 00 = 1.[24] Similarly, rings of power series require ${\displaystyle x^{0}=1}$ to be true for all specializations of x. Thus identities like ${\displaystyle {\frac {1}{1-x}}=\sum _{n=0}^{\infty }x^{n}}$ and ${\displaystyle e^{x}=\sum _{n=0}^{\infty }{\frac {x^{n}}{n!}}}$ are only true as functional identities (including at x = 0) if 00 = 1.

In differential calculus, the power rule ${\displaystyle {\frac {d}{dx}}x^{n}=nx^{n-1}}$ is not valid for n = 1 at x = 0 unless 00 = 1.

### Continuous exponents

Plot of z = xy. The red curves (with z constant) yield different limits as (x, y) approaches (0, 0). The green curves (of finite constant slope, y = ax) all yield a limit of 1.

Limits involving algebraic operations can often be evaluated by replacing subexpressions by their limits; if the resulting expression does not determine the original limit, the expression is known as an indeterminate form.[25] In fact, when f(t) and g(t) are real-valued functions both approaching 0 (as t approaches a real number or ±∞), with f(t) > 0, the function f(t)g(t) need not approach 1; depending on f and g, the limit of f(t)g(t) can be any nonnegative real number or +∞, or it can diverge. For example, the functions below are of the form f(t)g(t) with f(t), g(t) → 0 as t → 0+, but the limits are different:

${\displaystyle \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}{t}^{t}=1,\quad \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}\left(e^{-{\frac {1}{t^{2}}}}\right)^{t}=0,\quad \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}\left(e^{-{\frac {1}{t^{2}}}}\right)^{-t}=+\infty ,\quad \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}\left(e^{-{\frac {1}{t}}}\right)^{at}=e^{-a}}$.

Thus, the two-variable function xy, though continuous on the set {(x, y) : x > 0}, cannot be extended to a continuous function on any set containing (0, 0), no matter how one chooses to define 00.[26] However, under certain conditions, such as when f and g are both analytic functions and f is positive on the open interval (0, b) for some positive b, the limit approaching from the right is always 1.[27][28][29]

### Complex exponents

In the complex domain, the function zw may be defined for nonzero z by choosing a branch of log z and defining zw as ew log z. This does not define 0w since there is no branch of log z defined at z = 0, let alone in a neighborhood of 0.[30][31][32]

### History of differing points of view

The debate over the definition of ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ has been going on at least since the early 19th century. At that time, most mathematicians agreed that ${\displaystyle 0^{0}=1}$, until in 1821 Cauchy[33] listed ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ along with expressions like ${\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}}$ in a table of indeterminate forms. In the 1830s Libri[34][35] published an unconvincing argument for ${\displaystyle 0^{0}=1}$, and Möbius[36] sided with him, erroneously claiming that ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}f(t)^{g(t)}\;=\;1}$ whenever ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle \lim _{t\to 0^{+}}f(t)\;=\;\lim _{t\to 0^{+}}g(t)\;=\;0}$. A commentator who signed his name simply as "S" provided the counterexample of ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle (e^{-1/t})^{t}}$, and this quieted the debate for some time. More historical details can be found in Knuth (1992).[37]

More recent authors interpret the situation above in different ways:

• Some argue that the best value for ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ depends on context, and hence that defining it once and for all is problematic.[38] According to Benson (1999), "[t]he choice whether to define ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ is based on convenience, not on correctness. If we refrain from defining ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$, then certain assertions become unnecessarily awkward. [...] The consensus is to use the definition ${\displaystyle 0^{0}=1}$, although there are textbooks that refrain from defining ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$."[39]
• Others argue that ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ should be defined as 1. Knuth (1992) contends strongly that ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ "has to be 1", drawing a distinction between the value ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$, which should equal 1 as advocated by Libri, and the limiting form ${\displaystyle 0^{0}}$ (an abbreviation for a limit of ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle f(x)^{g(x)}}$ where ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle f(x),g(x)\to 0}$), which is necessarily an indeterminate form as listed by Cauchy: "Both Cauchy and Libri were right, but Libri and his defenders did not understand why truth was on their side."[37]

### Treatment on computers

#### IEEE floating point standard

The IEEE 754-2008 floating point standard is used in the design of most floating point libraries. It recommends a number of functions for computing a power:[40]

• pow treats 00 as 1. This is the oldest defined version. If the power is an exact integer the result is the same as for pown, otherwise the result is as for powr (except for some exceptional cases).
• pown treats 00 as 1. The power must be an exact integer. The value is defined for negative bases; e.g., pown(−3,5) is −243.
• powr treats 00 as NaN (Not-a-Number – undefined). The value is also NaN for cases like powr(−3,2) where the base is less than zero. The value is defined by epower×log(base).

#### Programming languages

Most programming language with a power function are implemented using the IEEE pow function and therefore evaluate 00 as 1. The later C[41] and C++ standards describe this as the normative behaviour. The Java standard[42] mandates this behavior. The .NET Framework method System.Math.Pow also treats 00 as 1.[43]

#### Mathematics software

• SageMath simplifies b0 to 1, even if no constraints are placed on b.[44] It takes 00 to be 1, but does not simplify 0x for other x.
• Maple distinguishes between integers 0, 1, ... and the corresponding floats 0.0, 1.0, ... (usually denoted 0., 1., ...). If x does not evaluate to a number, then x0 and x0.0 are respectively evaluated to 1 (integer) and 1.0 (float); on the other hand, 0x is evaluated to the integer 0, while 0.0x is evaluated as 0.x. If both the base and the exponent are zero (or are evaluated to zero), the result is Float(undefined) if the exponent is the float 0.0; with an integer as exponent, the evaluation of 00 results in the integer 1, while that of 0.0 results in the float 1.0.
• Macsyma also simplifies b0 to 1 even if no constraints are placed on b, but issues an error for 00. For x>0, it simplifies 0x to 0.[citation needed]
• Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha simplify b0 into 1, even if no constraints are placed on b.[45] While Mathematica does not simplify 0x, Wolfram Alpha returns two results, 0 for x > 0, and "indeterminate" for real x.[46] Both Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha take 00 to be "(indeterminate)".[47]
• Matlab, Python, Magma, GAP, singular, PARI/GP and the Google and iPhone calculators evaluate 00 as 1.

## Limits of powers

The section § Zero to the power of zero gives a number of examples of limits that are of the indeterminate form 00. The limits in these examples exist, but have different values, showing that the two-variable function xy has no limit at the point (0, 0). One may consider at what points this function does have a limit.

More precisely, consider the function f(x, y) = xy defined on D = {(x, y) ∈ R2 : x > 0}. Then D can be viewed as a subset of R2 (that is, the set of all pairs (x, y) with x, y belonging to the extended real number line R = [−∞, +∞], endowed with the product topology), which will contain the points at which the function f has a limit.

In fact, f has a limit at all accumulation points of D, except for (0, 0), (+∞, 0), (1, +∞) and (1, −∞).[48] Accordingly, this allows one to define the powers xy by continuity whenever 0 ≤ x ≤ +∞, −∞ ≤ y ≤ +∞, except for 00, (+∞)0, 1+∞ and 1−∞, which remain indeterminate forms.

Under this definition by continuity, we obtain:

• x+∞ = +∞ and x−∞ = 0, when 1 < x ≤ +∞.
• x+∞ = 0 and x−∞ = +∞, when 0 ≤ x < 1.
• 0y = 0 and (+∞)y = +∞, when 0 < y ≤ +∞.
• 0y = +∞ and (+∞)y = 0, when −∞ ≤ y < 0.

These powers are obtained by taking limits of xy for positive values of x. This method does not permit a definition of xy when x < 0, since pairs (x, y) with x < 0 are not accumulation points of D.

On the other hand, when n is an integer, the power xn is already meaningful for all values of x, including negative ones. This may make the definition 0n = +∞ obtained above for negative n problematic when n is odd, since in this case xn → +∞ as x tends to 0 through positive values, but not negative ones.

## Efficient computation with integer exponents

Computing bn using iterated multiplication requires n − 1 multiplication operations, but it can be computed more efficiently than that, as illustrated by the following example. To compute 2100, note that 100 = 64 + 32 + 4. Compute the following in order:

1. 22 = 4
2. (22)2 = 24 = 16
3. (24)2 = 28 = 256
4. (28)2 = 216 = 65,536
5. (216)2 = 232 = 4,294,967,296
6. (232)2 = 264 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616
7. 264 232 24 = 2100 = 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376

This series of steps only requires 8 multiplication operations instead of 99 (since the last product above takes 2 multiplications).

In general, the number of multiplication operations required to compute bn can be reduced to Θ(log n) by using exponentiation by squaring or (more generally) addition-chain exponentiation. Finding the minimal sequence of multiplications (the minimal-length addition chain for the exponent) for bn is a difficult problem for which no efficient algorithms are currently known (see Subset sum problem), but many reasonably efficient heuristic algorithms are available.[49]

## Exponential notation for function names

Placing an integer superscript after the name or symbol of a function, as if the function were being raised to a power, commonly refers to repeated function composition rather than repeated multiplication. Thus, f 3(x) may mean f(f(f(x))); in particular, f −1(x) usually denotes the inverse function of f. Iterated functions are of interest in the study of fractals and dynamical systems. Babbage was the first to study the problem of finding a functional square root f 1/2(x).

For historical reasons, this notation applied to the trigonometric and hyperbolic functions has a specific and diverse interpretation: a positive exponent applied to the function's abbreviation means that the result is raised to that power, while an exponent of −1 denotes the inverse function. That is, sin2 x is just a shorthand way to write (sin x)2 without using parentheses, whereas sin−1 x refers to the inverse function of the sine, also called arcsin x. Each trigonometric and hyperbolic has its own name and abbreviation both for the reciprocal; for example, 1/(sin x) = (sin x)−1 = csc x, as well as for its inverse, for example cosh−1 x = arcosh x. A similar convention applies to logarithms, where log2 x usually means (log x)2, not log log x.

## In programming languages

The superscript notation xy is convenient in handwriting but inconvenient for typewriters and computer terminals that align the baselines of all characters on each line. Many programming languages have alternate ways of expressing exponentiation that do not use superscripts:

Many other programming languages lack syntactic support for exponentiation, but provide library functions:

• pow(x, y): C, C++
• Math.Pow(x, y): C#

For certain exponents there are special ways to compute xy much faster than through generic exponentiation. These cases include small positive and negative integers (prefer x*x over x2; prefer 1/x over x−1) and roots (prefer sqrt(x) over x0.5, prefer cbrt(x) over x1/3).

## List of whole-number powers

n n2 n3 n4 n5 n6 n7 n8 n9 n10
2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1,024
3 9 27 81 243 729 2,187 6,561 19,683 59,049
4 16 64 256 1,024 4,096 16,384 65,536 262,144 1,048,576
5 25 125 625 3,125 15,625 78,125 390,625 1,953,125 9,765,625
6 36 216 1,296 7,776 46,656 279,936 1,679,616 10,077,696 60,466,176
7 49 343 2,401 16,807 117,649 823,543 5,764,801 40,353,607 282,475,249
8 64 512 4,096 32,768 262,144 2,097,152 16,777,216 134,217,728 1,073,741,824
9 81 729 6,561 59,049 531,441 4,782,969 43,046,721 387,420,489 3,486,784,401
10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000 10,000,000 100,000,000 1,000,000,000 10,000,000,000

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2. ^ For further analysis see The Sand Reckoner.
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6. ^ See:
• Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics
• Michael Stifel, Arithmetica integra (Nuremberg ("Norimberga"), (Germany): Johannes Petreius, 1544), Liber III (Book 3), Caput III (Chapter 3): De Algorithmo numerorum Cossicorum. (On algorithms of algebra.), page 236. Stifel was trying to conveniently represent the terms of geometric progressions. He devised a cumbersome notation for doing that. On page 236, he presented the notation for the first eight terms of a geometric progression (using 1 as a base) and then he wrote: "Quemadmodum autem hic vides, quemlibet terminum progressionis cossicæ, suum habere exponentem in suo ordine (ut 1ze habet 1. 1ʓ habet 2 &c.) sic quilibet numerus cossicus, servat exponentem suæ denominationis implicite, qui ei serviat & utilis sit, potissimus in multiplicatione & divisione, ut paulo inferius dicam." (However, you see how each term of the progression has its exponent in its order (as 1ze has a 1, 1ʓ has a 2, etc.), so each number is implicitly subject to the exponent of its denomination, which [in turn] is subject to it and is useful mainly in multiplication and division, as I will mention just below.) [Note: Most of Stifel's cumbersome symbols were taken from Christoff Rudolff, who in turn took them from Leonardo Fibonacci's Liber Abaci (1202), where they served as shorthand symbols for the Latin words res/radix (x), census/zensus (x2), and cubus (x3).]
7. ^ Quinion, Michael. "Zenzizenzizenzic - the eighth power of a number". World Wide Words. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
8. ^ This definition of "involution" appears in the OED second edition, 1989, and Merriam-Webster online dictionary [1]. The most recent usage in this sense cited by the OED is from 1806.
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13. ^ This definition of a principal root of unity can be found in:
14. ^ Complex number to a complex power may be real at Cut The Knot gives some references to ii
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23. ^ Nicolas Bourbaki (1970). Algèbre. Springer., §IV.1 No. 3.
24. ^ "Some textbooks leave the quantity 00 undefined, because the functions x0 and 0x have different limiting values when x decreases to 0. But this is a mistake. We must define x0 = 1, for all x, if the binomial theorem is to be valid when x = 0, y = 0, and/or x = −y. The binomial theorem is too important to be arbitrarily restricted! By contrast, the function 0x is quite unimportant".Ronald Graham, Donald Knuth, and Oren Patashnik (1989-01-05). "Binomial coefficients". Concrete Mathematics (1st ed.). Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co. p. 162. ISBN 0-201-14236-8.
25. ^ Malik, S. C.; Savita Arora (1992). Mathematical Analysis. New York: Wiley. p. 223. ISBN 978-81-224-0323-7. In general the limit of φ(x)/ψ(x) when 1=x = a in case the limits of both the functions exist is equal to the limit of the numerator divided by the denominator. But what happens when both limits are zero? The division (0/0) then becomes meaningless. A case like this is known as an indeterminate form. Other such forms are ∞/∞ 0 × ∞, ∞ − ∞, 00, 1 and ∞0.
26. ^ L. J. Paige (March 1954). "A note on indeterminate forms". American Mathematical Monthly. 61 (3): 189–190. JSTOR 2307224. doi:10.2307/2307224.
27. ^ sci.math FAQ: What is 0^0?
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30. ^ "Since log(0) does not exist, 0z is undefined. For Re(z) > 0, we define it arbitrarily as 0." George F. Carrier, Max Krook and Carl E. Pearson, Functions of a Complex Variable: Theory and Technique , 2005, p. 15
31. ^ "For z = 0, w ≠ 0, we define 0w = 0, while 00 is not defined." Mario Gonzalez, Classical Complex Analysis, Chapman & Hall, 1991, p. 56.
32. ^ "... Let's start at x = 0. Here xx is undefined." Mark D. Meyerson, The xx Spindle, Mathematics Magazine 69, no. 3 (June 1996), 198-206.
33. ^ Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Cours d'Analyse de l'École Royale Polytechnique (1821). In his Oeuvres Complètes, series 2, volume 3.
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35. ^ Guillaume Libri, Mémoire sur les fonctions discontinues, Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik 10 (1833), 303–316.
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