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Student secretly used Harvard’s supercomputer to mine Dogecoin

If you have a 14,000-core supercomputer sitting around at your educational establishment, why not use it to generate coins for your favorite digital currency? That was the reasoning of an unnamed Harvard University student, who has been rumbled after using the school’s supercomputer for unauthorized Dogecoin mining purposes.

The story comes courtesy of The Harvard Crimson, which reports that the “Odyssey cluster” of Harvard’s high-powered computing network was utilized for the mining. The operation came to light via an internal email circulated to officials from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing.

“A Dogecoin mining operation had been set up on the Odyssey cluster consuming significant resources in order to participate in a mining contest,” wrote Assistant Dean for Research Computing James Cuff in the email. “Odyssey and Research Computing resources can not be used for any personal or private gain or any non-research-related activity.”

“As a result, and as guidance and as warning to you all, I do need to say that the individual involved in this particular operation no longer has access to any and all research computing facilities on a fully permanent basis.” The student behind the endeavour has not been identified.

In an email to the Crimson, Harvard PhD graduate David Simmons-Duffin explained that the Odyssey cluster can generate the same amount of data in eight hours that a personal computer can generate in a year. “Although each individual processor isn’t much more powerful than your personal laptop, having many processors together can be a huge benefit when doing scientific computing,” he wrote.

Dogecoin is one of the more well-known and widely used virtual currencies after Bitcoin. It recently hit the headlines after helping to fund the Jamaican bobsled team at the Winter Olympics, and our own Andrew Couts has written in-depth about this emerging new currency.