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Mathematical operations in Octave

In this lesson, I'll explain what are the operators that allow you to perform the main mathematical operations on Octave.


The addition operator is +

>> 3+2
ans = 5


The subtraction operator is -

>> 3-2
ans = 1


Multiplication multiplication operator is

>> 4*2
ans = 8c


The division operator is /

>> 8/2
ans = 4

Remainder of the Division

To calculate the remainder of the division use the mod() function

>> mod(7,2)
ans = 1

Warning. Unlike many programming languages, the Octave software does not use the percent symbol % to calculate the remainder of division, because the % symbol is used to write comments. So if you write 7%2 the software treats 2 as a comment and returns 7 as the result. Therefore, if you need to calculate the modulus of division you must use the mod() function.


The power operator is ^

>> 2^3
ans = 8

Alternatively, you can also use the double asterisk to calculate the exponentiation of a number

>> 2**3
ans = 8

Square root

To calculate the square root you have to use the function sqrt()

>> sqrt(16)
ans = 4

Alternatively you can raise the number by the fraction 1/2

>> 16**(1/2)
ans = 4

In addition to these basic math operators, there are many other Octave functions that allow you to perform many other math operations

  • abs(x)
    returns the absolute value of x
  • cos(x)
    calculate the cosine of x
  • sin(x)
    calculate the sine of x
  • tan(x)
    calculate the tangent of x
  • acos(x)
    calculates the arc cosine of x
  • asin(x)
    calculate the arcsine of x
  • atan(x)
    compute the arc tangent x
  • exp(x)
    calculate the exponential of x
  • log(x)
    calculate the natural logarithm of
  • log10(x)
    calculate the base 10 logarithm of x
  • sqrt(x)
    calculate the square root of x
  • nthroot(x,n)
    calculate the nth real root of x

For example to calculate the absolute value you can use the abs() function

>> abs(-1)
ans = 1

In general, Octave results are displayed in short format with 5 significant digits by default.

However, you can change the number format (long/short) or use scientific notation.

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