Harvard student thrown off 14,000-core super ... for mining Dogecoin

Wow. Very misuse. Much banned. 'For fairly obvious reasons'


A Harvard University student is in hot water for using the Ivy League school's 14,000-core supercomputer to mine Dogecoins.

According to The Harvard Crimson, an unnamed student has been stripped of access to all of the prestigious uni's research-computing labs and systems after it was discovered earlier this month that s/he had scheduled its Odyssey cluster for use in a Dogecoin mining operation.

Odyssey began its life as an Intel Xeon–based supercomputing system, and was at one point ranked among the Top 500 supercomputers list. The system has since been expanded to some 14,000 cores and is managed by Harvard's Research Computing office as a high-performance Linux cluster for researchers.

According to a copy of an internal email posted to Reddit shortly after the incident was discovered, the unusual activity was discovered by a researcher, and was reported to administrators who soon uncovered the Dogecoin mining operation.

"Any participation in 'Klondike' style digital mining operations or contests for profit requiring Harvard owned assets to examine digital currency key strength and length are strictly prohibited for fairly obvious reasons," the email reads.

"In fact, any activities using our shared resources for any non scientific purpose that results or does not actually result in personal gain are also clearly and explicitly denied."

An open-source cryptocurrency, Dogecoin is based on the Litecoin format and currently trades at an exchange rate of roughly $.0012, or .002 mBTC. A reference to the Doge meme, the currency bills itself as the favored cryptocurrency of Shiba Inus worldwide.

That someone would seek to employ a supercomputer cluster in a mining operation is hardly a surprise, given the current market for Bitcoin and the various altcoin formats.

With the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, demand has grown for increased compute power to be devoted to mining systems. As the practice has grown in popularity, mining rigs have grown from desktop systems to specialized devices that pack high-performance CPU and GPU hardware in hopes of generating money from the complex hashing operations associated with the mining of coins. ®

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