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Historically analytical methods have been the preferred approach to designing magnets and gradient sets for magnetic resonance systems. Such methods are computationally efficient but are approximate, particularly away from the axis of symmetry. Alternative methods, which are much more computationally intensive, for example Genetic Algorithms, are now becoming practical. Such methods have the advantage that they can be used for unconventional designs and for the inclusion of non-analytical design constraints such as real-word engineering and cost limitations. Gradient coil designs have been published previously. Now with the availability of more powerful computers, more ambitious designs can be undertaken using parallel computing methods. The use of a Hitachi SR2201 supercomputer and clusters of Linux PCs (Beowulf) to develop a short whole body MRI magnet for clinical applications are reported on. An important feature of these computer codes is that they have been developed to run on parallel computing systems using the MPI message passing standard. MPI is an accepted industry standard, which means that these codes can readily be ported to different parallel computers. Previous success has been achieved in using MPI for a variety of other Medical Imaging problems.