From a young age, Nelson was tinkering with electronics, aided and abetted by his physicist/engineer father. When he enrolled in MIT, Nelson became known for hooking up the AI Lab's PDP-1 (and later the PDP-6) to the telephone network, making him one of the first phreakers; he later accomplished other feats like hardwiring additional instructions into the PDP-1. Nelson was hired by Ed Fredkin's Information International Inc. to work on PDP-7 programs.
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