Computer hacker Billy Hoffman is a star student and a troublemaker, the kind of scholar universities hate to love.

The most talented computer engineering students are also often the most curious. They want to explore new ways to find and use information, and that often involves breaking the law. Higher-education institutions want to encourage and keep the most talented students, but they often have to discipline them for being too curious.

"A lot of times people will do hacking or exploring at school," said Hoffman, a 22-year-old student at Georgia


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