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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’, and links explicitly to ‘multicore’ or ‘snow’ on help pages).
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’).
The version released for R 2.14.0 contains base functionality: higher-level convenience functions are planned (and some are already available in the ‘R-devel’ version of R).
Using a false value for the ‘DESCRIPTION’ field ‘LazyLoad’ is deprecated.
‘mapply()’ now gives an explicit error message (rather than an obscure one) is inputs of zero and positive length are mixed.