A distributed Monte Carlo simulation which models the propagation of light through tissue has been developed. It will allow for improved calibration of medical imaging devices for investigating tissue oxygenation in the white matter of the cerebral cortex. The application can distribute the simulation over an unbounded number of processors in parallel. We have found that this application is highly parallelisable resulting in up to 97% efficiency at 60 processors running on a homogeneous Java distributed system. A distributed system with 150 heterogeneous processors was used to simulate the paths of photons in a brain tissue model. We found that the source illumination footprint has an effect on the distribution of photons in the head and that lasers do produce a small beam in a highly scattering medium. This application will help researchers to improve the accuracy of their experiments. Â© 2006 IEEE.