A number of practical issues associated with the parallel distributed memory solution of elliptic partial differential equations (p.d.e.'s) using unstructured meshes in two dimensions are considered. The first part of the paper describes a parallel mesh generation algorithm which is designed both for efficiency and to produce a well-partitioned, distributed mesh, suitable for the efficient parallel solution of an elliptic p.d.e. The second part of the paper concentrates on parallel domain decomposition preconditioning for the linear algebra problems which arise when solving such a p.d.e. on the unstructured meshes that are generated.\ud \ud It is demonstrated that by allowing the mesh generator and the p.d.e. solver to share a certain coarse grid structure it is possible to obtain efficient parallel solutions to a number of large problems. Although the work is presented here in a finite element context, the issues of mesh generation and domain decomposition are not of course strictly dependent upon this particular discretization strategy
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