# Numpy Factorial, Explained

This article is originally published at https://www.sharpsightlabs.com

In this tutorial, I’ll explain how to use the Numpy factorial function, AKA np.math.factorial.

I’ll explain the syntax of np.math.factorial, how the function works, and how to use it.

I’ll also show you how to use a different function, scipy.special.factorial, to compute factorials element-wise on Numpy arrays.

**Table of Contents:**

- Introduction to Numpy Factorial
- The syntax of np.math.factorial
- The syntax of scipy.special.factorial
- Examples

Having said that, it’s probably best if you read the whole tutorial. Everything will probably make more sense that way.

## A Quick Introduction to Numpy Factorial

First of all, let’s just start off with an overview of factorials, and how we can compute factorials with Numpy and Scipy.

### A Quick Review of Factorials

Quickly, let’s review what factorials are.

The factorial of an integer is denoted as , and is defined as:

(1)

So as an example we can compute the factorial as:

(2)

Now, let’s talk about how to compute factorials in Python and Numpy.

### There are several important ways to compute factorials in Python

For better or worse, there’s not one single way to compute factorials in Python or in Numpy.

If you want to compute a Numpy factorial value, I recommend two functions:

`numpy.math.factorial()`

`scipy.special.factorial()`

The `numpy.math.factorial()`

function only works for single integer values.

If you want to compute factorials on an array of values, you need to use `scipy.special.factorial()`

.

Let’s take a look at the syntax for both, and then I’ll show you some examples.

## Numpy.math.factorial syntax

The syntax for the Numpy factorial function is simple:

Remember: this assumes that you’ve imported Numpy with the code `import numpy as np`

.

It’s important to note that the Numpy factorial function (AKA, numpy.math.factorial) only accepts integer values as an input. It will throw an error if you attempt to use this function on a Numpy array.

If you want to compute factorials on all of the values of a Numpy array, you need to use a different function.

## scipy.special.factorial syntax

If you want to compute factorials on an entire Numpy array, you need to use `scipy.special.factorial()`

function.

To use this function, you need to import scipy.special with the code `import scipy.special`

.

Once you do that, you can use `scipy.special.factorial()`

. The syntax is as follows:

Notice that when you’re using `scipy.special.factorial()`

, the input is more flexible. In particular, `scipy.special.factorial()`

will accept inputs in the form of:

- integers
- Numpy arrays filled with integers

That being the case, `scipy.special.factorial()`

is actually more flexible.

## Examples: how to calculate factorials in Numpy and Scipy

Now, let’s take a look at some examples.

**Examples:**

- Use the Numpy factorial function on an integer
- Calculate the factorials for the values of a Numpy array

### EXAMPLE 1: Use the Numpy factorial function on an integer

Here, we’re going to use the Numpy factorial function (i.e., `numpy.math.factorial`

).

#### Import Numpy

First, if you haven’t done so already, you need to import Numpy with the following code:

import numpy as np

#### Calculate Factorial with Numpy

Now, we can use Numpy to calculate the factorial of an integer.

Here, we’ll calculate .

np.math.factorial(5)

OUT:

120

#### Explanation

This is really straight forward.

Here, we’re providing the integer `5`

as the input to the function.

The function computes the factorial: .

One important thing to reiterate here is that `np.math.factorial()`

will not work on floating point numbers or Numpy arrays.

To calculate the factorials on a Numpy array, you need to use a different function.

### EXAMPLE 2: Calculate the Factorials for the Values of a Numpy array

Now, we’re going to use `scipy.special.factorial()`

to calculate the factorials of values of a Numpy array.

To do this, we’ll need to import `scipy.special`

, and also create a Numpy array.

#### Import packages

First, we need to import `numpy`

and `scipy.special`

.

You can do that with the following code:

import numpy as np import scipy.special

#### Create Numpy Array

Next, we’ll use the Numpy array function to create a simple numpy array with 6 values:

my_array = np.array([[1,2,3],[4,5,6]])

Let’s quickly take a look at the array, so you can see the contents:

print(my_array)

OUT:

[[1 2 3] [4 5 6]]

As you can see, this Numpy array which I’ve called `my_array`

contains the integer values from 1 to 6, arranged in an array with two rows and three columns.

#### Calculate Factorial of the Numpy array values

Now, we’ll use `scipy.special.factorial()`

to calculate the factorials of each integer in our Numpy array:

scipy.special.factorial(my_array)

OUT:

array([[ 1., 2., 6.], [ 24., 120., 720.]])

#### Explanation

This is pretty simple.

Here, we’ve provided `my_array`

as the input to `scipy.special.factorial()`

.

In the output, `scipy.special.factorial()`

has calculated the factorial values of each value in the input array.

So it’s pretty simple. You can try this on larger arrays as well, and for larger integers, but be aware that it may have large computation costs.

##### Leave your other questions in the comments below

Do you have other questions about how to compute factorials in Numpy or Scipy?

If so, leave your questions in the comments section below.

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