Harvard professor combines coding with community

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 15:50 in Mathematics & Economics

When he was just 4 years old, Jelani Nelson got his first taste of what computers could do, and it came in the form of an animated plumber named Mario. For his birthday that year, Nelson’s parents gave him a Nintendo Entertainment System, and he quickly immersed himself in the world of video games. By the time he was 10, Nelson had moved on to PC and online gaming, and it was there that he discovered — nearly by accident — the code that makes the online world work. “I got into computers through gaming, and I had a computer at home with an internet connection,” he said. “I remember at some point I right-clicked on a webpage on my browser, and saw that it said ‘view source.’ That was how I learned HTML was a thing.” That discovery, Nelson said, not only set him on the road to teaching himself to code...

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