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MPI-AMRVAC is an MPI-parallelized Adaptive Mesh Refinement code, with some heritage (in the solver part) to the Versatile Advection Code or VAC, initiated by Gábor Tóth at the Astronomical Institute at Utrecht in November 1994, with help from Rony Keppens since 1996. Previous incarnations of the Adaptive Mesh Refinement version of VAC were of restricted use only, and have been used for basic research in AMR strategies, or for well-targeted applications. This MPI version uses a full octree block-based approach, and allows for general orthogonal coordinate systems. MPI-AMRVAC aims to advance any system of (primarily hyperbolic) partial differential equations by a number of different numerical schemes. The emphasis is on (near) conservation laws, with shock-dominated problems as a main research target. The actual equations are stored in separate modules, can be added if needed, and they can be selected by a simple configuration of the VACPP preprocessor. The dimensionality of the problem is also set through VACPP. The numerical schemes are able to handle discontinuities and smooth flows as well.