Harvard University’s Odyssey Supercomputer Abused for Dogecoin Mining

The individual behind the mining operation has been banned from research facilities

By on February 22nd, 2014 10:12 GMT

Harvard University’s Odyssey, a supercomputer that has 14,000 CPU cores, has been abused by one of the members of Harvard’s research community to mine Dogecoins, a relatively new crypto currency that’s similar to Bitcoin.

Dogecoins are currently not worth too much, but their value is expected to increase. That’s probably why the unnamed individual decided to put the Odyssey to good use.

The Harvard Crimson reports that the university’s Assistant Dean for Research Computing James A. Cuff sent out an email to the FAS Research Computing Users Group to alert them of the incident.

“Odyssey and Research Computing resources can not be used for any personal or private gain or any non research related activity,” reads the email, a copy of which has been published on Reddit.

“Accordingly, 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,” Cuff noted.

“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.”

He says the individual in question has been permanently banned from accessing any kinds of research computing facilities.

Currently, 1,000 Dogecoins are worth $1.20, which is not much compared to Bitcoin. However, the individual who came up with the idea to use Harvard’s supercomputer to power his mining operation probably calculated that he could make some money.

Timothy R. Peterson, a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department at Harvard, has told The Crimson that hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars of Dogecoins might have been mined.

Cuff explained that Harvard didn’t examine the algorithms and codes running on the cluster. However, they noticed the mining operation while investigating “unexpected behavior.”

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