Threads primer - a guide to multithreading programming by Bil Lewis, Daniel J. Berg

By Bil Lewis, Daniel J. Berg

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52 Threads Primer 2 You see: (a) Debugging cross-process programs is tough, and the tools that exist for this are not as good as those for MT. (b) Things take longer. In Solaris, creating a process is about 30 times slower than creating a thread, synchronization variables are about 10 times slower, and context switching about 5 times slower. (c) Processes eat up lots of kernel memory. Building a few thousand threads is no big deal. Building a few thousand processes is. You can do everything with shared memory.

That library will provide a set of function calls (typically about 50 calls) that is the programmer’s sole interface to threads. Everything not provided by those calls must come from the system’s other libraries, meaning that 99% of writing a multithreaded program consists of writing regular, old-fashioned code almost the same way as before. As you read the descriptions of the APIs, you may be struck by the lack of fancy features. This is intentional. These libraries provide a foundation for writing MT programs, but not every little thing you might like.

Each thread is a different stream of control that can execute its instructions independently, allowing a multithreaded process to perform numerous tasks concurrently. One thread can run the GUI, while a second thread does some I/O, while a third one performs calculations. A thread is an abstract concept that comprises everything a computer does in executing a traditional program. It is the program state that gets scheduled on a CPU, it is the “thing” that does the work. , and the stack. A thread, viewed at an instant of time, is the state of the computation.

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