A Dedicated Parallel Platform for Astrophysical Dynamics

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 32-node GRAPE Cluster at RIT

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.