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Section 14.8 Chapter Summary

Subsection 14.8.1 Technical Terms

asynchronous monitor ready queue
blocked multitasking round-robin scheduling
busy waiting multithreaded scheduling algorithm
concurrent mutual exclusion task
critical section priority scheduling thread
dispatched producer/consumer model thread life cycle
fetch-execute cycle quantum time slicing
lock queue

Subsection 14.8.2 Important Points

  • A sequential computer with a single central processing unit (CPU) can execute only one machine instruction at a time. A parallel computer uses multiple CPUs operating simultaneously to execute more than one instruction at a time.

  • Each CPU uses a fetch-execute cycle to retrieve the next machine instruction from memory and execute it. The cycle is under the control of the CPU's internal clock, which typically runs at several hundred megahertz—where 1 megahertz (MHz) is 1 million cycles per second. Time slicing is the technique whereby several threads can share a single CPU over a given time period. Each thread is given a small slice of the CPU's time under the control of some kind of scheduling algorithm.

  • In round-robin scheduling, each thread is given an equal slice of time, in a first-come–first-served order. In priority scheduling, higher-priority threads are allowed to run before lower-priority threads are run.

  • There are generally two ways of creating threads in a program. One is to create a subclass of Thread and implement a run() method. The other is to create a Thread instance and pass it a Runnable object—that is, an object that implements run().

  • The sleep() method removes a thread from the CPU for a determinate length of time, giving other threads a chance to run.

  • The setPriority() method sets a thread's priority. Higher-priority threads have more and longer access to the CPU.

  • Threads are asynchronous. Their timing and duration on the CPU are highly sporadic and unpredictable. In designing threaded programs, you must be careful not to base your algorithm on any assumptions about the threads' timing.

  • To improve the responsiveness of interactive programs, you could give compute-intensive tasks, such as drawing lots of dots, to a lower-priority thread or to a thread that sleeps periodically.

  • A thread's life cycle consists of ready, running, waiting, sleeping, and blocked states. Threads start in the ready state and are dispatched to the CPU by the scheduler, an operating system program. If a thread performs an I/O operation, it blocks until the I/O is completed. If it voluntarily sleeps, it gives up the CPU.

  • According to the producer/consumer model, two threads share a resource, one serving to produce the resource and the other to consume the resource. Their cooperation must be carefully synchronized.

  • An object that contains synchronized methods is known as a monitor. Such objects ensure that only one thread at a time can execute a synchronized method. The object is locked until the thread completes the method or voluntarily sleeps. This is one way to ensure mutually exclusive access to a resource by a collection of cooperating threads.

  • The synchronized qualifier can also be used to designate a method as a critical section, whose execution should not be preempted by one of the other cooperating threads.

  • In designing multithreaded programs, it is useful to assume that if a thread can be interrupted at a certain point, it will be interrupted there. Thread coordination should never be left to chance.

  • One way of coordinating two or more cooperating threads is to use the wait/notify combination. One thread waits for a resource to be available, and the other thread notifies when a resource becomes available.

Solutions 14.8.3 Solutions to Self-Study Exercises

14.3 From the Java Library: java.lang.Thread
14.3.1 The Runnable Interface

Self-Study Exercise

14.3.4 Forcing Threads to Sleep

Self-Study Exercises

14.4 Thread States and Life Cycle
14.4.1 Thread Control

Self-Study Exercise

14.5 Using Threads to Improve Interface Responsiveness
14.5.8 Advantages of Multithreaded Design

Self-Study Exercises

14.6 CASE STUDY: Cooperating Threads
14.6.3 Design: The TakeANumberClass

Self-Study Exercise

14.6.10 Creating a Critical Section

Self-Study Exercise

14.6.12 The wait/notify Mechanism

Self-Study Exercise
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