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The paper describes new techniques to increase the performance of collective communication operations in clusters. These techniqnes are based in multithreading operations and on-line data compression. The techniques proposed have been implemented in MiMPI, a thread-safe implementation of MPI. We have evaluated, and compared, the performance of MiMPI with other implementations of MPI available for clusters with Linux and Windows 2000. The benchmark used has been MPBench, a flexible and portable framework to allow benchmarking of MPI implementations.