Python - abs vs fabs

0 votes

I noticed that in python there are two similar looking methods for finding the absolute value of a number:

First

abs(-5)

Second

import math
math.fabs(-5)

How do these methods differ?

Sep 19, 2018 in Python by bug_seeker
• 15,310 points
48 views

1 answer to this question.

0 votes

math.fabs() converts its argument to float if it can (if it can't, it throws an exception). It then takes the absolute value, and returns the result as a float.

In addition to floats, abs() also works with integers and complex numbers. Its return type depends on the type of its argument.

In [7]: type(abs(-2))
Out[7]: int

In [8]: type(abs(-2.0))
Out[8]: float

In [9]: type(abs(3+4j))
Out[9]: float

In [10]: type(math.fabs(-2))
Out[10]: float

In [11]: type(math.fabs(-2.0))
Out[11]: float

In [12]: type(math.fabs(3+4j))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
TypeError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
/home/alexei/<ipython-input-12-8368761369da> in <module>()
----> 1 type(math.fabs(3+4j))

TypeError: can't convert complex to float
answered Sep 19, 2018 by Priyaj
• 56,160 points

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