Math Functions in Databases – MySQL Edition


Today, we’re walking you through math functions in the MySQL database management system. Have a read!

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“All developers should be well versed in math” – or so they say. That’s not exactly true, however, knowing math certainly helps when developing apps. One area where math certainly helps would be writing mathematical functions.

What are Math Functions in MySQL?

As far as math is concerned, a function is an expression that defines a relationship between two or more variables. That’s all it is, really – it’s not rocket science.

As far as databases are concerned, these also contain certain functions that help complete mathematical missions. For MySQL, some of these functions are as follows:

ABS()This function can be used to return the absolute value of a number.
COS()This function returns the cosine of a number.
ACOS()This function returns the arc cosine of a number.
DEGREES()This function can be used to convert radians to degrees in MySQL.
FLOOR()This function can be used to floor a number in MySQL.
EXP()The opposite effect of LN()
LN()This function would return a logarithm of a number in MySQL.
LOG()Same as LN()
POW() | POWER()Gives MySQL the power to raise a value of X to the power of Y.
MOD()This function in MySQL can be used to perform the modulus operation.

The above table outlines only a couple of functions and all of them can be found in the mathematical functions page of MySQL – in the database world, math functions aren’t used that frequently, but it’s certainly worth it to memorize a few – you never know when you’ll need them for data analytics or similar operations.

Using Math Functions in MySQL

Now that you know something about the math functions offered by MySQL, you may be wondering – what are their use cases? Will I ever use them?

The answer is you’re not likely to use them unless you’re dealing with operations related to data analytics or you’re using them in conjunction with other queries. In other cases they’re not very necessary.

Math Functions in Data Analytics

As we’ve already mentioned above, the most likely scenario that would necessitate the usage of math functions would be data analytics operations. Aside from math functions, data analytics operations would likely require one or more of the following operations to be performed in conjunction with them:

  • The BINARY operation that lets us cast a string to a binary string (the function is deprecated starting from MySQL 8.0.27)
  • The LIKE, RLIKE or NOT LIKE operators allowing for searches with wildcard-based values.
  • The REGEXP or NOT REGEXP operators allowing for regex-based searches.
  • The BETWEEN or NOT BETWEEN operators that check whether values are between or not between something else.
  • The := operator letting us assign a value to a specific variable.
  • The IN() operator letting us determine whether a value is within another value.
  • IS or IS NOT operators to test whether a value is or is not a part of something.
  • IS NULL or IS NOT NULL operators to test whether a value is or isn’t NULL.
  • The MEMBER OF() function to check whether a value is a member of a JSON array of values.

By now, the picture is likely getting more clear for you – math functions are important especially when we combine them with other functions and operators. Those who are interested in more information about MySQL operators should check out our guide related to MySQL operators, and those who are interested in how everything works on an even deeper level should refer to the MySQL documentation itself.

SQL Clients and SQL Operations

However, even combining math functions with other operations won’t cut the chase if you find yourself immersed in the database world – those who are deeply concerned about their database security, performance, or availability should head over to SQL clients as well. DbVisualizer is one of them – DbVisualizer is the database client with the highest user satisfaction and is used by some of the most widely known companies in the world including Google, Meta, Twitter, Tesla, Netflix, and even NASA.

DbVisualizer is built by having the most pressing database issues in mind – it offers extensive support for most of data sources and offers all of its users the power of a SQL client with the simplicity of a spreadsheet. The software can run on Windows, Linux, and macOS machines and offers a wide variety of functions including, but not limited to:

  • Features to access and modify data in multiple data sources including all of the most popular relational and not relational databases, Redshift, SAP ASE, Vertica, Snowflake, and others.
  • Features helping you explore your data including visual explain plans, or work and build your DDL queries.
  • Security features including data encryption via SSH, secure data access, the ability to deny certain queries from executing, or the ability to set up a master password on DbVisualizer.

Explore all of the features offered by DbVisualizer over here, then grab a free trial run of the software by heading over to this link, and make sure to sign up for TheTable’s roundup to get all of the most relevant database news straight into your inbox. See you in the next blog!


What are Math Functions in MySQL?

In MySQL, math functions refer to the functions helping us perform math operations – return the absolute value of a certain number, return the cosine, arc cosine of a number or floor it, etc. Refer to the manual for a more concrete explanation.

Why Should Math Functions be Combined with Other Functions?

That’s the case because math functions aren’t supposed to be used in a standalone fashion – to get the best out of them, it’s recommended to use them in conjunction with the functions outlined above.

Where Can I Learn More About Operators and Math Functions?

Refer to our earlier blog, our TheTable blog collection, or other sources (the documentation of MySQL, etc.)

Why Should I Use a SQL Client?

You should consider using a SQL client because decent SQL clients help alleviate the pain associated with database management – they help advance the stance of your database in the performance, availability, and security realms.

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About the author
Lukas Vileikis
Lukas Vileikis is an ethical hacker and a frequent conference speaker. He runs one of the biggest & fastest data breach search engines in the world -, frequently speaks at conferences and blogs in multiple places including his blog over at
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