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Currently there is a vote to close the question Mathematics of War. Personally I believe with an appropriate edit the question is salvageable and of much interest. I'm interested in knowing what is the community input in this.

I agree with Chris Cunningham's comment. I believe the question is interesting and could spark good responses, but I disagree that it will in the current shape. Chris's suggestion is that the real question is

"Did militaristic countries take any special actions to format their math education programs in light of their warlike or expansionist nature?"

Much mathematics has been spawned by military applications and perhaps the question could be adapted to this:

Mathematics has many applications in industry. Here I would like to focus on a special part of these industries and the role of mathematics in its development.

Question: Consider the countries which invested heavily in mathematics for military purposes. How did they format their math education programs in light of their warlike or expansionist nature? Is there information on particular methods or books they have used to effectively increase the country's mathematics education and knowledge? Was their focus exclusively on applied mathematics or was pure mathematics as important, possibly having a higher place?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm unclear on your question. Are you asking about applying an edit? $\endgroup$
    – JPBurke
    Aug 2 '14 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and know what's the community opinion. I should have said that. Thanks for the heads-up. $\endgroup$ Aug 2 '14 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ I would rephrase your question further: How have countries developed their math education programs to further their military goals? What books or methods did they use? Did they focus on pure or applied mathematics? If you ask it that way, I'd even answer it. $\endgroup$
    – user173
    Aug 12 '14 at 10:44
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I think it might be better to just go with a general question that focuses on things that we're more likely able to find. Then, perhaps, some follow-on questions would be good.

Question: What has been written about how nations preparing for (or in the midst of) war have changed their mathematics education systems in an effort to support the war?

If we had a few answers to this question for different nations, or even different periods in history, it might be easier to see a pattern over the cases. Or an interesting difference between the cases.

It's math ed policy, but I think it fits with the site's purpose.

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I think your proposed edit is quite reasonable and would be interested to see answers for it.

I am very much opposed to the question as it was originally posted, but I did not vote to close because, as you point out, it could generate an interesting discussion were it to be edited. In particular, I am disturbed by the component of the question that explicitly asks for areas of mathematics that are useful in war. There is no way to misinterpret the sentence as it is written. I would not like to see this kind of sentiment expressed on this site, and I hope the community agrees with me.

I say you should leave a comment so OP sees discussion and the go forward with your proposed edits.

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    $\begingroup$ When you say "generate an interesting discussion" do you mean in the comments? I have heard the phrase used here a few times and it's not clear to me where people expect actual discussion to take place. An answer-question pair is not actually a discussion, although it can certainly start one. The question sets the stage (especially one as widely ranging as this one) and an answer narrows down to what could be the start of a discussion. But my sense of the site's intention is that an answer should be fairly complete in itself. Basically, I just want to know "discussion how and where?" $\endgroup$
    – JPBurke
    Aug 3 '14 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ I just had in mind that I was interested to see what answers would say. Wasn't necessarily intending discussion in the "back and forth" sense. $\endgroup$ Aug 4 '14 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ Lots of areas of mathematics are useful in war. Calculus and differential equations are useful in ballistics. Linear optimizations are useful in logistics. Statistics, as I've mentioned elsewhere, are useful for running military hospitals. The same areas of mathematics are useful in peace, too. I'd expect both sentiments to be welcome here -- do you agree? $\endgroup$
    – user173
    Aug 13 '14 at 0:24

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