Multithreading

By: Jesse Miller

Multithreading helps to perform various operations simultaneously and saves time of a user. A multithreaded program has a main thread and other user-defined threads to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

The microprocessor allocates memory to the processes that you execute. Each process occupies its own address space or memory. However, all the threads in a process occupy the same address space. Multithreading allows you to achieve multitasking in a program. Multitasking is the ability to execute more than one task at the same time. Multitasking can be divided into Process-based multitasking and thread-based multitasking.

Process-based multitasking feature enables you to switch from one program to another so fast that it appears as if the programs are executing at the same time. A process-based multitasking enables you to run the c sharp compiler and use the text editor at the same time.

A single programming can contain two or more threads and therefore, perform two or more tasks simultaneously. A text editor can perform writing to a file and print a document simultaneously with separate threads performing the writing and printing actions.

In the text editor, you can format text in a document and print the document at the same time. There are fewer overloads when the processor switches from one thread to another. Therefore, threads are called lightweight process. On the other hand, when the processor switches from one process to another process the overload increases.
Advantages of multithreading are improved performance, Minimized system resource usage, simultaneous access to multiple applications and program structure simplification.

Improved performance provides improvement in the performance of the processor by simultaneous execution of computation and the I/O operation. Minimized system resource usage minimizes the use of system resources by using threads, which are the same address space and belong to the same process. Simultaneous access to multiple applications provides access to multiple applications at the same time because of quick context switching among threads. Program structure simplification simplifies the structure of complex applications, such as multimedia applications.

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Each activity can be written in separate methods that makes complex program easy to design and code. Limitations of multithreading are Race condition, Deadlock condition and lock starvation. When two or more threads simultaneously access a variable, at least one thread tries to write a value in the variable. This is called the race condition. Deadlock condition, when two threads wait for each other to complete their operations.

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