In January 2004, Mark Zuckerberg had a real-life version of a common nightmare. He was facing his first round of exams at Harvard and he hadn't studied or read anything the professor had assigned for a first-year art history course called Rome of Augustus. Zuckerberg hadn't even gone to class during the term. He was too busy creating a cool computer program called Facebook that would help students get to know one another and share information. Now, a few days before the exam, Zuckerberg was, in his words, "just completely screwed."

But he had an idea, straight out of twenty-first-century computer science. He created a Web site and put pictures from the course on it, with a little discussion beside each picture. Maybe ...

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