Severin Pappadeux - 2 months ago 20

R Question

Is there a difference between

`a^2`

`a^2L`

Speed difference?

Precision?

So far I see none, just wondering if ^2 is implemented as log/exp pair, but ^2L as a multiplication. What about if

`a`

UPDATE

No, it is NOT a duplicate, I know about difference between

`2`

`2L`

Answer

R uses an integer exponent version `R_pow_di`

internally, but the `^`

operator only calls `R_pow`

. That being said, `R_pow`

*does* special case `x^2`

as `x*x`

. Therefore, the precision is identical, but the `2L`

version ought to be slightly slower due to long->double coercion at the C level. This is demonstrated in the following benchmark.

```
> lngs<-rep(2L,1e6)
> dbls<-rep(2.0,1e6)
> n<-sample(100,1e6,replace=TRUE)
> x<-rnorm(1e6)
> microbenchmark(x^lngs,x^dbls,n^lngs,n^dbls)
Unit: milliseconds
expr min lq mean median uq max neval cld
x^lngs 8.489547 9.804030 12.543227 11.719721 13.98702 19.92170 100 b
x^dbls 5.622067 6.724312 9.432223 7.949713 10.89252 59.15342 100 a
n^lngs 10.590587 13.857297 14.920559 14.200080 16.65519 19.55346 100 c
n^dbls 8.331087 9.699143 12.414267 11.403211 14.20562 19.66389 100 b
```

This is nothing to lose sleep over.

Links go to the source mirror. Note that `R_ADD`

, `R_SUB`

, `R_MUL`

and `R_DIV`

are defined as C macros to take advantage of type overloading, but `R_POW`

is defined to inline the `x^2 = x*x`

special case then calls `R_pow`

(lower case). The checking for that special case again in `R_pow`

would be duplicative except that `R_pow`

is called internally other places.