Arithmetic operations are performed elementwise on Numpy arrays. For arrays of identical shape, this means that the operation is executed between elements at corresponding indices.

```
# Create two arrays of the same size
a = np.arange(6).reshape(2, 3)
b = np.ones(6).reshape(2, 3)
a
# array([0, 1, 2],
# [3, 4, 5])
b
# array([1, 1, 1],
# [1, 1, 1])
# a + b: a and b are added elementwise
a + b
# array([1, 2, 3],
# [4, 5, 6])
```

Arithmetic operations may also be executed on arrays of different shapes by means of Numpy *broadcasting*. In general, one array is "broadcast" over the other so that elementwise operations are performed on sub-arrays of congruent shape.

```
# Create arrays of shapes (1, 5) and (13, 1) respectively
a = np.arange(5).reshape(1, 5)
a
# array([[0, 1, 2, 3, 4]])
b = np.arange(4).reshape(4, 1)
b
# array([0],
# [1],
# [2],
# [3])
# When multiplying a * b, slices with the same dimensions are multiplied
# elementwise. In the case of a * b, the one and only row of a is multiplied
# with each scalar down the one and only column of b.
a*b
# array([[ 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
# [ 0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
# [ 0, 2, 4, 6, 8],
# [ 0, 3, 6, 9, 12]])
```

To illustrate this further, consider the multiplication of 2D and 3D arrays with congruent sub-dimensions.

```
# Create arrays of shapes (2, 2, 3) and (2, 3) respectively
a = np.arange(12).reshape(2, 2, 3)
a
# array([[[ 0 1 2]
# [ 3 4 5]]
#
# [[ 6 7 8]
# [ 9 10 11]]])
b = np.arange(6).reshape(2, 3)
# array([[0, 1, 2],
# [3, 4, 5]])
# Executing a*b broadcasts b to each (2, 3) slice of a,
# multiplying elementwise.
a*b
# array([[[ 0, 1, 4],
# [ 9, 16, 25]],
#
# [[ 0, 7, 16],
# [27, 40, 55]]])
# Executing b*a gives the same result, i.e. the smaller
# array is broadcast over the other.
```

Broadcasting takes place when two arrays have *compatible* shapes.

Shapes are compared component-wise starting from the trailing ones. Two dimensions are compatible if either they're the same or one of them is `1`

. If one shape has higher dimension than the other, the exceeding components are not compared.

Some examples of compatible shapes:

```
(7, 5, 3) # compatible because dimensions are the same
(7, 5, 3)
(7, 5, 3) # compatible because second dimension is 1
(7, 1, 3)
(7, 5, 3, 5) # compatible because exceeding dimensions are not compared
(3, 5)
(3, 4, 5) # incompatible
(5, 5)
(3, 4, 5) # compatible
(1, 5)
```

Here's the official documentation on array broadcasting.