In mathematics, a **power series** (in one variable) is an infinite series of the form

where

In many situations, *c* (the *center* of the series) is equal to zero, for instance when considering a Maclaurin series. In such cases, the power series takes the simpler form

Beyond their role in mathematical analysis, power series also occur in combinatorics as generating functions (a kind of formal power series) and in electronic engineering (under the name of the Z-transform). The familiar decimal notation for real numbers can also be viewed as an example of a power series, with integer coefficients, but with the argument *x* fixed at 1⁄10. In number theory, the concept of *p*-adic numbers is also closely related to that of a power series.

A polynomial of degree d can be expressed as a power series around any center *c*, where all terms of degree higher than d have a zero coefficient. For instance, the polynomial can be written as a power series around the center as

or around the center as

This is because of the Taylor series expansion of f(x) around is

as and the non-zero derivatives are , so and , a constant.

Or indeed the expansion is possible around any other center *c*.^{[1]} One can view power series as being like "polynomials of infinite degree," although power series are not polynomials.

The geometric series formula

which is valid for , is one of the most important examples of a power series, as are the exponential function formula

and the sine formula

valid for all real *x*.

These power series are also examples of Taylor series.

Negative powers are not permitted in a power series; for instance, is not considered a power series (although it is a Laurent series). Similarly, fractional powers such as are not permitted (but see Puiseux series). The coefficients are not allowed to depend on , thus for instance:

is not a power series.

A power series is convergent for some values of the variable *x*, which will always include *x* = *c* (as usual, evaluates as 1 and the sum of the series is thus for *x* = *c*). The series may diverge for other values of x. If *c* is not the only point of convergence, then there is always a number *r* with 0 < *r* ≤ ∞ such that the series converges whenever |*x* – *c*| < *r* and diverges whenever |*x* – *c*| > *r*. The number *r* is called the radius of convergence of the power series; in general it is given as

or, equivalently,

(this is the Cauchy–Hadamard theorem; see limit superior and limit inferior for an explanation of the notation). The relation

is also satisfied, if this limit exists.

The set of the complex numbers such that |*x* – *c*| < *r* is called the disc of convergence of the series. The series converges absolutely inside its disc of convergence, and converges uniformly on every compact subset of the disc of convergence.

For |*x* – *c*| = *r*, there is no general statement on the convergence of the series. However, Abel's theorem states that if the series is convergent for some value z such that |*z* – *c*| = *r*, then the sum of the series for *x* = *z* is the limit of the sum of the series for *x* = *c* + *t* (*z* – *c*) where t is a real variable less than 1 that tends to 1.

When two functions *f* and *g* are decomposed into power series around the same center *c*, the power series of the sum or difference of the functions can be obtained by termwise addition and subtraction. That is, if

and

then

It is not true that if two power series and have the same radius of convergence, then also has this radius of convergence. If and , then both series have the same radius of convergence of 1, but the series has a radius of convergence of 3.

The sum of two power series will have, at minimum, a radius of convergence of the smaller of the two radii of convergence of the two series (and it may be higher than either, as seen in the example above).^{[2]}

With the same definitions for and , the power series of the product and quotient of the functions can be obtained as follows:

The sequence is known as the convolution of the sequences and .

For division, if one defines the sequence by

then

and one can solve recursively for the terms by comparing coefficients.

Solving the corresponding equations yields the formulae based on determinants of certain matrices of the coefficients of and

Once a function is given as a power series as above, it is differentiable on the interior of the domain of convergence. It can be differentiated and integrated quite easily, by treating every term separately:

Both of these series have the same radius of convergence as the original one.

Main article: Analytic function |

A function *f* defined on some open subset *U* of **R** or **C** is called analytic if it is locally given by a convergent power series. This means that every *a* ∈ *U* has an open neighborhood *V* ⊆ *U*, such that there exists a power series with center *a* that converges to *f*(*x*) for every *x* ∈ *V*.

Every power series with a positive radius of convergence is analytic on the interior of its region of convergence. All holomorphic functions are complex-analytic. Sums and products of analytic functions are analytic, as are quotients as long as the denominator is non-zero.

If a function is analytic, then it is infinitely differentiable, but in the real case the converse is not generally true. For an analytic function, the coefficients *a*_{n} can be computed as

where denotes the *n*th derivative of *f* at *c*, and . This means that every analytic function is locally represented by its Taylor series.

The global form of an analytic function is completely determined by its local behavior in the following sense: if *f* and *g* are two analytic functions defined on the same connected open set *U*, and if there exists an element *c* ∈ *U* such that *f*^{(n)}(*c*) = *g*^{(n)}(*c*) for all *n* ≥ 0, then *f*(*x*) = *g*(*x*) for all *x* ∈ *U*.

If a power series with radius of convergence *r* is given, one can consider analytic continuations of the series, i.e. analytic functions *f* which are defined on larger sets than { *x* | |*x* − *c*| < *r* } and agree with the given power series on this set. The number *r* is maximal in the following sense: there always exists a complex number x with |*x* − *c*| = *r* such that no analytic continuation of the series can be defined at x.

The power series expansion of the inverse function of an analytic function can be determined using the Lagrange inversion theorem.

The sum of a power series with a positive radius of convergence is an analytic function at every point in the interior of the disc of convergence. However, different behavior can occur at points on the boundary of that disc. For example:

*Divergence while the sum extends to an analytic function*: has radius of convergence equal to and diverges at every point of . Nevertheless, the sum in is , which is analytic at every point of the plane except for .*Convergent at some points divergent at others*: has radius of convergence . It converges for , while it diverges for .*Absolute convergence at every point of the boundary*: has radius of convergence , while it converges absolutely, and uniformly, at every point of due to Weierstrass M-test applied with the hyper-harmonic convergent series .*Convergent on the closure of the disc of convergence but not continuous sum*: Sierpiński gave an example^{[3]}of a power series with radius of convergence , convergent at all points with , but the sum is an unbounded function and, in particular, discontinuous. A sufficient condition for one-sided continuity at a boundary point is given by Abel's theorem.

Main article: Formal power series |

In abstract algebra, one attempts to capture the essence of power series without being restricted to the fields of real and complex numbers, and without the need to talk about convergence. This leads to the concept of formal power series, a concept of great utility in algebraic combinatorics.

An extension of the theory is necessary for the purposes of multivariable calculus. A **power series** is here defined to be an infinite series of the form

where

where is the set of natural numbers, and so is the set of ordered

The theory of such series is trickier than for single-variable series, with more complicated regions of convergence. For instance, the power series is absolutely convergent in the set between two hyperbolas. (This is an example of a *log-convex set*, in the sense that the set of points , where lies in the above region, is a convex set. More generally, one can show that when c=0, the interior of the region of absolute convergence is always a log-convex set in this sense.) On the other hand, in the interior of this region of convergence one may differentiate and integrate under the series sign, just as one may with ordinary power series.^{[4]}

Let α be a multi-index for a power series *f*(*x*_{1}, *x*_{2}, …, *x*_{n}). The **order** of the power series *f* is defined to be the least value such that there is *a*_{α} ≠ 0 with , or if *f* ≡ 0. In particular, for a power series *f*(*x*) in a single variable *x*, the order of *f* is the smallest power of *x* with a nonzero coefficient. This definition readily extends to Laurent series.