Does Python optimize low-power functions?
John Ladasky
john_ladasky at sbcglobal.net
Fri Dec 6 19:16:19 CET 2013
The following two functions return the same result:
x**2
x*x
But they may be computed in different ways. The first choice can accommodate non-integer powers and so it would logically proceed by taking a logarithm, multiplying by the power (in this case, 2), and then taking the anti-logarithm. But for a trivial value for the power like 2, this is clearly a wasteful choice. Just multiply x by itself, and skip the expensive log and anti-log steps.
My question is, what do Python interpreters do with power operators where the power is a small constant, like 2? Do they know to take the shortcut?
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