Man let university cluster with 14,000 cores secretly mine Dogecoins

An employee or student at Harvard University has surreptitiously deployed the educational institution’s Odyssey computer cluster to mine Dogecoins, a type of cryptocurrency. After discovery, the man was given a permanent ban on the use of research systems.

Harvard University’s Odyssey cluster is a collection of Linux systems with a total of 14,000 cores that students and staff can use for research calculations. The cluster can do an amount of work in a few hours that a regular desktop computer would take a year to do.

It is unclear how many Dogecoins the man has mined, but the estimate according to the Harvard Crimson is that with a few days of mining on the Odyssey an amount of hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars can be achieved. The man’s position is unknown, but he has now been permanently banned from accessing any Harvard research computer, says an internal email from the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing.

Originally, Odyssey consisted of 512 Dell PowerEdge M600 blades, each equipped with two Intel Xeon E5410 quad-cores. With that configuration, Ars Technica estimates its mining capabilities are equivalent to just 13 AMD Radeon HD 7990 cards. However, the Odyssey cluster has expanded from its original 4096 cores to 14,000 computing cores, which makes the comparison no longer valid, although it is also not clear which part of the cluster the man used for mining.

The Dogecoin is a derivative of the Litecoin and the cryptocurrency owes its name to a well-known internet meme.