In Ruby, "`**`

" represents the exponentiation operator, which returns the result of raising the first operand to the power of the second operand.

For example, the mathematical expression `2 ^ 5`

(i.e. two raised to the power of five) can be expressed using the exponentiation operator in the following way:

puts 2 ** 5 #=> 32

In this case, `2`

is the base and `5`

is the exponent.

This is the same as using the `Integer#pow`

method:

puts 2.pow(5) #=> 32

Using either, the exponential operator (`**`

) or the `Integer#pow`

method, is merely a shorter form of multiplying the *base* number as many times to itself as denoted by the *exponent*. For example, consider the following, which is equivalent to the examples above:

puts 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 #=> 32

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