The ^ (caret) symbol is used in computing to represent the exponentiation operator when entered on a keyboard. Typically, the symbol is used in an expression like this:
In plain language, this means raise the expression 2 to the 3rd power. The caret symbol is also used to typeset superscript text, which represents exponentiation in written math.
When computing an expression which contains the exponent operator, the caret symbol is often used in place of what normally would be superscript text.