Math Constants and Functions in JavaScript Math Constants and Functions in JavaScript

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In this tutorial, we’ll learn about Math Object in JavaScript, which allows us to use mathematical constants such as π, e, √2 and perform mathematical operations on numbers such as pow(), sqrt(), max(), min(), random(), abs(), ceil(), floor(), round(), and truc().

Math Constants

Math Object in JavaScript provides 8 mathematical constants that can be used:

Math.E        // returns 2.718281828459045  (Euler's number)
Math.PI       // returns 3.141592653589793  (PI)
Math.SQRT2    // returns 1.4142135623730951 (square root of 2)
Math.SQRT1_2  // returns 0.7071067811865476 (square root of 1/2)
Math.LN2      // returns 0.6931471805599453 (natural logarithm of 2)
Math.LN10     // returns 2.302585092994046  (natural logarithm of 10
Math.LOG2E    // returns 1.4426950408889634 (base 2 logarithm of E)
Math.LOG10E   // returns 0.4342944819032518 (base 10 logarithm of E)

Calculate circumference of a circle

Let’s use Math.PI constant to calculate the circumference 2πr of a circle given the radius r:

function calculateCircumference(radius) {
  return 2 * Math.PI * radius;
}

calculateCircumference(10); // returns 62.83185307179586

Math Pow

The Math.pow(a, b) function returns the a (base) to the power of b (exponent), i.e. ab.

Math.pow(4, 3);      
// returns 64 i.e. 4×4×4

Math.pow(-4, 3);     
// returns -64 i.e. (-4)×(-4)×(-4)

Math.pow(4, -3);     
// returns 0.015625 i.e. 1 ÷ (4 × 4 x 4) 

Math.pow(64, 0.5);   
// returns 8 i.e. 2√64

Math.pow(-64, 0.5);  
// returns NaN i.e. 2√-64 square root number cannot be negative

Math.pow(64, -0.5);  
// returns 0.125 i.e. 1 ÷ 2√64 = 1/8

Let’s breakdown the result of above examples for clear understanding:

Math.pow(a, b)abbreakdownresult
Math.pow(4, 3)434 × 4 x 464
Math.pow(-4, 3)(-4)3(-4) × (-4) x (-4)-64
Math.pow(4, -3)4(-3)1 ÷ (4 × 4 x 4)0.015625
Math.pow(64, 0.5)640.52√648
Math.pow(-64, 0.5)(-64)0.52√-64NaN
Math.pow(64, -0.5)64(-0.5)1 ÷ 2√640.125


Exponentiation Operator (**)

It is very interesting to know that JavaScript ES6 provide shorthand syntax ** for Math power also known as exponentiation operator. So the above Math.pow examples are same as:

console.log(4 ** 3);       // returns 64
console.log((-4) ** 3);    // returns -64
console.log(4 ** -3);      // returns 0.015625
console.log(64 ** 0.5);    // returns 8
console.log((-64) ** 0.5); // returns NaN
console.log(64 ** -0.5);   // returns 0.125

Please note that if you are using shorthand syntax with -ve base then you must wrap the base in parenthesis () to avoid SyntaxError.

➤ -4 ** 3
Uncaught SyntaxError: Unary operator used immediately before exponentiation expression. Parenthesis must be used to disambiguate operator precedence

➤ (-4) ** 3
-64

Create square and cube methods using exponentiation operator

Let’s create some math power methods using exponentiation operator **:

const square = x => x ** 2;
const cube = x => x ** 3;

square(4); // returns 16
cube(3);   // returns 27

Math Sqrt

The Math.sqrt(x) function returns the square root of the given number.

Math.sqrt(0);     // returns 0
Math.sqrt(null);  // returns 0

Math.sqrt(25);    // returns 5
Math.sqrt(1);     // returns 1
Math.sqrt(0.5);   // returns 0.7071067811865476

Math.sqrt(-5);    // returns NaN as number cannot be negative
Math.sqrt(NaN);   // returns NaN as number cannot be NaN

Create our own squareroot method

Let’s create our own squareroot methods using ES6 exponentiation operator **:

const squareroot = x => x ** 0.5;

squareroot(0);      // returns 0
squareroot(null);   // returns 0
squareroot(25);     // returns 5
squareroot(1);      // returns 1
squareroot(0.5);    // returns 0.707106781186547
squareroot(-5);     // returns NaN as number cannot be negative
squareroot(NaN);    // returns NaN as number cannot be NaN 

Keep in mind that the square root of negative numbers doesn’t exist among the set of real numbers so JavaScript returns NaN. Square root of negative numbers is an imaginary number which is represented by i i.e. √-1 = i

Math Max

The Math.max(value1, value2, value3, ...) function returns the largest value out of given values.

Math.max(1, 3, 2, 0, -1);      
// returns 3

If any argument cannot be converted to a number, NaN is returned.

Math.max(1, 3, 2, '0', -1);    
// returns 3 as '0' is converted to numeric 0

Math.max(1, 3, 2, 'zero', -1); 
// returns NaN as 'zero' cannot be converted to numeric value

Find the largest number from an array

Let’s use Math.max function to find a largest number from an array in three ways:-

① Using spread operator ...

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
Math.max(...numbers);          
// returns 5

② Using function prototype apply() method

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
Math.max.apply(null, numbers);  
// returns 5

③ Using Array.reduce() method

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
numbers.reduce((a,b) => Math.max(a,b));  
// returns 5

However, both spread (...) and apply() will either fail or return the wrong result if the array has too many elements, because they try to pass the array elements as function parameters. The Array.reduce() method does not have this problem.

Math Min

The Math.min(value1, value2, value3, ...) function returns the smallest value out of given values.

Usage example of Math.min is same as Math.max function.

Math.min(1, 3, 2, 0, -1);               // returns -1
Math.min(1, 3, 2, '0', -1);             // returns -1
Math.min(1, 3, 2, 'zero', -1);          // returns NaN

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];  
Math.min(...numbers);                   // returns 1
Math.min.apply(null, numbers);          // returns 1
numbers.reduce((a,b) => Math.min(a,b)); // returns 1 

Math Random

The Math.random() functions returns a floating point random number between 0 (inclusive) to 1 (exclusive)

0 ≤ Math.random() < 1

Let’s create some useful methods using Math.random() function:

Generate a random integer given the max range

Let’s first create a method getRandomInt, which returns a random integer given the max range

const getRandomInt = (max) => Math.floor(Math.random() * max) + 1;

Let’s use this method to find a random user name from the given array

const userList = ["Alice", "Bob", "Charlie", "David", "Eric", "Franklin", "Gavin", "Harry", "Iris", 
                "Joey", "Kate", "Leo", "Monica", "Nancy", "Oscar", "Phoebe", "Quinn", "Ross", 
                "Sofia", "Tyler", "Umar", "Victor", "Wilson", "Xena", "Yasmine", "Zara"];

const getRandomUser = () => userList[getRandomInt(userList.length)];

console.log(getRandomUser()); // Wilson
console.log(getRandomUser()); // Charlie
console.log(getRandomUser()); // Leo
console.log(getRandomUser()); // Joey
console.log(getRandomUser()); // Gavin


Generate a random integer between two values (inclusive)

Let’s first create a method getRandomIntInclusive, which returns a random integer between two values (inclusive)

const getRandomIntInclusive = (min, max) => {
  min = Math.ceil(min);
  max = Math.floor(max);
  return Math.floor(Math.random() * (max - min + 1)) + min;
};

Let’s use this method to generate an array of 10 elements with two-digits random numbers i.e. between 10 to 99

var numbers = [];
var min = 10;
var max = 99;

for ( var i = 0; i < 10; i++ ) {
    numbers.push(getRandomIntInclusive(min, max));
}

console.log(numbers);
// [25, 55, 95, 51, 47, 10, 74, 86, 74, 77]


Shuffle the elements of an array

This is very interesting use of Math.random() function with Array.sort() functions to shuffle elements of an array. Let’s create our shuffleElements method:

const shuffleElements = (list) => list.sort(() => Math.random() - 0.5);

The idea here is generate random number using Math.random() between -0.5 to 0.5 and feed it to Array.sort() function which sort an array based on returned value is +ve, or 0, or -ve

Let’s use this method:

const list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9];

console.log(shuffleElements(list));
// [6, 1, 2, 4, 3, 9, 5, 8, 7]

console.log(shuffleElements(list));
// [9, 6, 8, 1, 2, 7, 4, 5, 3]

console.log(shuffleElements(list));
// [6, 7, 3, 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 4]

Math Abs

The Math.abs(x) function returns the absolute of the a number i.e. |x|

Math.abs('-1');     // 1
Math.abs(-2);       // 2
Math.abs(null);     // 0
Math.abs('');       // 0
Math.abs([]);       // 0
Math.abs([2]);      // 2
Math.abs([1,2]);    // NaN
Math.abs({});       // NaN
Math.abs('string'); // NaN
Math.abs();         // NaN

Find absolute difference between two numbers

Let’s use Math.abs() to find the absolute difference between two given numbers:

const difference = (a, b) => Math.abs(a-b);

console.log(difference(3, 5)); // 2
console.log(difference(5, 3)); // 2

Math Ceil

The Math.ceil(x) function is used to round off the given number towards ceiling means upward direction.

x ≤ Math.ceil(x) ≤ x+1
Math.ceil(0.95);    // 1
Math.ceil(45.95);   // 46
Math.ceil(45.05);   // 46
Math.ceil(-0.95);   // -0
Math.ceil(-45.05);  // -45 
Math.ceil(-45.95);  // -45

Math.ceil(null);    // 0

Math Floor

The Math.floor(x) function is used to round off the given number towards floor means downward direction.

x-1 ≤ Math.floor(x) ≤ x
Math.floor(0.95);    // 0
Math.floor(45.95);   // 45
Math.floor(45.05);   // 45
Math.floor(-0.95);   // -1
Math.floor(-45.05);  // -46 
Math.floor(-45.95);  // -46

Math.floor(null);    // 0

Get a fraction part of a number

Let’s create a method fraction to get a fraction part of the number using Math.floor() and Math.abs() functions:

const fraction = (x) => Math.abs(x) - Math.floor(Math.abs(x));

fraction(45.95);   // 0.95
fraction(45.05);   // 0.05
fraction(-45.95);  // 0.95
fraction(-45.05);  // 0.05

Get quotient and remainder of a division of two whole numbers

The Math.floor() and % can be used find quotient and remainder of a division of two whole numbers respectively:

var dividend = 14;
var divisor = 3;

console.log("quotient", Math.floor(dividend/divisor));
console.log("remainder", dividend % divisor);
// quotient 4
// remainder 2

Math Round

The Math.round(x) function is used to round off the given number to the nearest integer in any direction, upward or downward.

console.log(Math.round(0.9));
// 1

console.log(Math.round(5.95), Math.round(5.5), Math.round(5.05));
// 6 6 5

console.log(Math.round(-5.05), Math.round(-5.5), Math.round(-5.95));
// -5 -5 -6

Math Trunc

The Math.trunc(x) function returns the integer part of a number by removing decimal part.

Math.trunc(0.123);   // 0
Math.trunc(12.34);   // 12
Math.trunc(-0.123);  // -0
Math.trunc(-12.34);  // -12
Math.trunc('foo');   // NaN

Note that Math.trunc(x) function do not apply any rounding logic and simply truncate the dot and decimal part of the number.

Create our own truncate method

Let’s create our own truncate methods using Math.ceil() and Math.floor() functions:

const truncate = (x) => x < 0 ? Math.ceil(x) : Math.floor(x);

truncate(0.123);   // 0
truncate(12.34);   // 12
truncate(-0.123);  // -0
truncate(-12.34);  // -12
truncate('foo');   // NaN

Remaining Math Functions

We have covered most of the frequently used Math Object functions in JavaScript in details. These are the list of remaining Math functions which might be required in complex mathematical calculation.

MethodDescription
acos(x)Returns the arccosine of x, in radians
acosh(x)Returns the hyperbolic arccosine of x
asin(x)Returns the arcsine of x, in radians
asinh(x)Returns the hyperbolic arcsine of x
atan(x)Returns the arctangent of x as a numeric value between -PI/2 and PI/2 radians
atan2(y, x)Returns the arctangent of the quotient of its arguments
atanh(x)Returns the hyperbolic arctangent of x
cbrt(x)Returns the cubic root of x
cos(x)Returns the cosine of x (x is in radians)
cosh(x)Returns the hyperbolic cosine of x
exp(x)Returns the value of ex, where e is Euler’s number
expm1(x)Returns the value of (ex-1), where e is Euler’s number
log(x)Returns the natural logarithm (base e) of x
sin(x)Returns the sine of x (x is in radians)
sinh(x)Returns the hyperbolic sine of x
tan(x)Returns the tangent of an angle
tanh(x)Returns the hyperbolic tangent of a number