A Harvard University student was caught using the Ivy League school's 14,000-core supercomputer to mine Dogecoins, and was banned from accessing the university's research computing facilities ever again.

The student had set up a dogecoin mining operation using a highly-powered Harvard research network, the Harvard Crimson reported, citing an internal email circulated by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing officials at the University.

The letter was subsequently posted on reddit.

As per the rules of the institution, its facilities cannot be used for "personal or private gain or any non-research related activity."

"A "dogecoin" (bitcoin derivative) 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 an email to the FAS Research Computing Users Group.

The Odyssey cluster is a group of computers networked together to allow faster data transfer between processors. It combines the power of 14,000 processing cores.

He added that the person involved in the mining operation no longer has access to "any and all research computing facilities on a fully permanent basis."

"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 wrote.

Dogecoin, a virtual currency like Bitcoin, is a decentralised digital currency that can be mined with sophisticated computer algorithms. Miners will be rewarded with coins in proportion to their contribution of CPU power.

Dogecoin is based on the Litecoin format and currently trades at an exchange rate of roughly $.0012. It has a total supply of more than 52 billion and a market capitalisation of about $63m.

The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies has boosted demand for computer systems used to mine them. Mining rigs have grown from desktop systems to specialised devices that contain high-performance CPU and GPU hardware. For example, bitcoins are primarily mined by using application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), which are customised for particular uses.