Coding challenge

Let $a_1,a_2,\ldots$ be a sequence determined by the rule $a_n=a_{n-1}/2$ if $a_{n-1}$ is even and $a_n=3a_{n-1}+1$ if $a_{n-1}$ is odd. For how many positive integers $a_1 \le 2008$ is it true that $a_1$ is less than each of $a_2$, $a_3$, and $a_4$? (Ans: 502.) (Ref: ACM 12A 2008.)

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