Threads , Lifecycle Explained with Example

What is Thread ?

Thread is a sequence of code executed independently with other threads of control with   in a single executed program .

for example : Here we are going to calculate the sum of next hundred numbers from the given input number by the user

Read Also :   How to Manually Throw Interrupted Exception in Threads

public class ThreadExample
      public static void main (String args[])
       int n= Integer.parseInt(args[0]);
       System.out.println("Number is : "  +n);
       int sum=0;
       int nexthundred=n+100;
       while(nexthundred > n)
       sum = sum+(nexthundred--);
       System.out.println("Sum of next hundred numbers is " + sum);

So at machine level following instructions  are executing :

1.  Convert args[0]  to integer
2.  Store the integer to the  n memory location
3.  Print the number
4.  Stote 0 in the location known as sum
5.  Stote n+100 in the location known as nexthundred
6.  Now Test if nexthundred is greater than n
7.  Again print the sum as final result

The above steps happened at the machine level.
So we learn that   The execution path of the above steps is called as Thread .

*  Each computer program has atleast one thread that is the thread which starts the application
and we normally call this thread as main thread

Why Threads

If the program is break into different parts , then it is easier to write code for the algorithm as separate tasks or threads .Please note that , using thread in the program does not make the program to execute faster  . But it sorts of create an illusion .

LifeCycle of a Thread

Creating a Thread

A thread can be created by two ways :

By extending the thread class
By  implementing the runnable interface

Thread are created with three pieces of information :

These are

1. Thread Name :  It will assign some name to the thread

2. Runnable target :  It is the list of code that needs to be executed by the thread . This information is generally in the run()  of the thread .

3. Stack size :  Every thread has a stack where it stores its local variables or temporary variables . Everything related  to the size of stack is platform dependent.Use of stack size in portable programs is highly discouraged

threads lifecycle explained with example

Starting a Thread 

We can start the thread by calling the start() method on  Thread object . Although a thread is there once it is created but it is not executing or running . So it is in waiting state .
Being in waiting state ,  other threads can interact with this thread ,and attributes of the waiting thread can be set along with  its priority , its daemon status etc. can also be set by the other threads .
So in short
Even though the thread is waiting , its state can be changed by other threads .

Terminating a Thread

Once the thread finish executing run() method , no matter how much time it takes to complete or number of calls to other methods, it terminates the thread . Means the thread dead . Once  dead , it can not be restarted.

Pausing,Suspending and Resuming Thread

A thread can be paused by using sleep(time) method . Can be suspended by using wait method .
Now the question arises what is the difference between wait and sleep method

Sleep() method will make sure that the thread sleeps atleast for the amount of time we passed in the sleep method , but there is no such guarantee for the wait method .

Also , sleep method  affects only  the thread that executes it  , its not possible to tell another thread to go to  sleep .

Thread Cleanup

Although the thread completed its run()method and is terminated . Still , Thread object  contains some interesting information .As long as some other active object holds a reference to the terminated
thread object, other threads can execute methods on the terminated thread and retrieve that information.

If the thread object  representing the terminated thread goes out of scope, the thread object is garbage collected .

Please mention in comments in case you have any doubts regarding threads or multithreading.

About The Author

Subham Mittal has worked in Oracle for 3 years .
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