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A general description is here.
It incorporates (slightly revised) copies of packages ‘multicore’ and ‘snow’ (excluding MPI, PVM and NWS clusters). Code written to use the higher-level API functions in those packages should work unchanged (apart from changing any references to their namespaces to a reference to ‘parallel’).
It also contains support for multiple RNG streams following L'Ecuyer _et al_ (2002), with support for both ‘mclapply’ and ‘snow’ clusters. This replaces functions like ‘clusterSetupRNG()’ from ‘snow’ (which are not in ‘parallel’).
On some systems ‘help(".C", help_type = "pdf")’ and similar generated file names that TeX was unable to handle.
Non-blocking listening socket connections continued to report ‘isIncomplete’ as true even when the peer had closed down.