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I'm still confused about order of operations on exponents:

Is $x^{a^b}$ equal to $x^{(a^b)}$ or $(x^a)^b$?

*Hmm... $x^{a^b}$ has the source of x^{a^b}. Whenever I try x^a^b, it requires me to "clarify by using braces".

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Can anyone retag this "order-of-operations"? – Mateen Ulhaq Feb 13 '11 at 3:38
Since that tag does not exist, and this is covered in arithmetic and elementary... – Arturo Magidin Feb 13 '11 at 4:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Since $(a^b)^c = a^{bc}$, it makes much more sense to use the convention $$a^{b^c} = a^{\left(b^c\right)}.$$ This is knows as "right associativity".

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Awesome. I joined this stackexchange to post a question, but find this during the close-sounding-question list. – Tom Pace Sep 10 '13 at 1:58

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