As I learn more about modular arithmetic, I come across notation that is used differently than what I am used to from algebra and calculus. For example:

$\displaystyle y = x^{-1}$

in algebra means that y = 1/x. But in modular arithmetic, it means that y is the modular inverse of x (e.g. $\displaystyle 4^{-1} \mod 7 = 2$).

What about his notation:

$\displaystyle y = x^{1/b}$

Is this notation applied the same as in algebra? If x and b are positive integers, then does this mean that y will rarely result in an integer like it would be in algebra?

I'm working through a question and have come upon notation like this. In the realm of integers, an equation like this seems to be pointless since it will rarely yield an integer when interpreted like an algebra problem. So, I'm thinking that there must be another interpretation. Can anyone help me (assuming that this makes any sense)?

Thanks!