The GRAPE special purpose computers have revolutionized astrophysical simulation by allowing the use of realistic particle numbers without the need to compromise the accuracy of the inter-particle force computations via trees or grids. Simulations carried out on GRAPEs have helped resolve ong-standing questions in a number of areas of astrophysics including planet formation evolution of star clusters and globular clusters and galaxy mergers . The most powerful machine in the GRAPE series the GRAPE-6 operates at roughly 1 TFlops and can handle particle numbers as large as a half million comparable to the number of stars in a globular cluster. This has enabled the first convincing simulations of encounter-driven evolution of globular clusters up to and beyond the core-collapse stage . They are manufactured in Tokyo by the Hamamatsu Metrix Corporation .
The first cabinet contains the RAID disk arrays. The four other cabinets contains the 32 dual-Xeon nodes, each of which houses a GRAPE-6Af accelerator board; the network switches; and the power supply. A few pictures from the assembling process can be found here.