Iris Energy, a Bitcoin miner, renews high-performance computing strategy due to increased interest in AI.

Iris Energy (IREN) has announced in a press release on Tuesday that it is revamping its strategy to include hosting high-performance computing alongside bitcoin miners, as the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow. Several miners, such as Applied Digital Corporation (APLD), Crusoe Energy, and Hut 8 Mining (HUT), have recently diversified into other types of computing. The market for data center space for AI is expected to rise to $76 billion by 2028, with large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT becoming increasingly popular.

Iris Energy intends to increase its data center capacity from its current 5.6 EH/s to 9.1 exahash/second (EH/s) by early 2024.

The company said that it had invested significant time three to four years ago in exploring a high-performance computing strategy, including signing a strategic memorandum of understanding with Dell Technologies in March 2020 to test and develop potential data center solutions for energy-intensive compute applications. Iris Energy said that given recent developments, “the time may be right to expand into this sector” using either its existing sites or those under construction.

The miner has procured items with long lead times to expand and build out another 100-megawatt (MW) facility, which would bring its mining hashrate to 13.6 EH/s if filled with mining rigs. However, miners’ access to cheap energy and data center infrastructure may make it seem like it would be easy for them to pivot to AI and cloud computing. Still, the requirements of high-performance computing industries differ significantly from mining in terms of quality of operations, uptime, and customer service.