## Algebra## Exponents and Logarithms |

## What is an exponent in terms of algebra? |

An exponent is actually raising a number to a certain power; this is written as a superscript to the right of a real number, such as 3^{4}, expressed as “three raised to the fourth power,” or “three with an exponent of four.” (For more information on exponents, see “Math Basics.”) The exponent represents the number of times a number is being multiplied. The above example actually means “3 × 3 × 3 × 3,” which is equal to 81. The powers can be an integer (negative or positive numbers), real number, or even a complex number. This can also be thought of as taking the quantity *b,* the base number, to the power of another quantity often called *e*, the exponent. (In many computer-oriented texts, this is written as *b* ∧ *e*.)

Exponents are important to algebra as they are often included in most algebraic equations. The process of performing the operation of raising to a power is known as *exponentiation.* Exponents are also often associated with functions. For example, in the function f(*x*) = *x*^{2}, the 2 is the exponent.