Lecture 4: Threads (线程)  Objectives  To introduce the notion of ...

burgerraraSoftware and s/w Development

Nov 18, 2013 (4 years and 5 months ago)


Lecture 4: Threads (


To introduce the notion of a thread

a fundamental unit of CPU utilization that
forms the basis of multithreaded computer systems.

To discuss the APIs for Pthreads, Win32 and Java thread libraries.


A thread is
a basic unit of CPU utilization which comprises a thread ID, a program counter,
a register set and a stack.

Heavyweight process with a single thread of control and a process with multiple threads of

Overview: Motivation

Examples of multithreaded

web browser

one thread displays images or text

one thread retrieves data from network

word processor

one thread displays graphics

one thread responds to keystrokes from user

one thread performs spelling and grammar checking



Resource Sharing


Utilization of Multiprocessor Architectures

Multithreading Models

Two categories of threads

user thread provided at user level

kernel thread provided by OS

Relationship between user threads and kernel threads

One Model

One Model

Many Model

Multithreading Models: Many
One Model

Many user
level threads mapped to one kernel thread.

Multiple threads are unable to run in parallel on multiprocessors.

Example: Green threads

a thread library for Solaris.

hreading Models: One
One Model

Each user
level thread maps to a kernel thread.

More concurrency and parallel than Many
One model.

Drawback: creating a user thread requires creating corresponding kernel thread.

Examples: Linux, Windows 95/98/NT/2000/X

Multithreading Models: Many
Many Model

Multiplexes many user
level threads to a smaller or equal number of kernel threads.

Developers can create as many user threads as necessary, and the corresponding kernel
threads can run in parallel on multipro

Examples: IRIX, HP

Thread Libraries

A thread library provides the programmer an API for creating and managing threads.

Provide a library entirely in user space with no kernel support (local function

Implement a kernel
level library supp
orted directly by OS (system call)

Three main thread libraries:

POSIX Pthreads (user
level library)

Win32 (kernel
level library)

Java (a library based on other thread library)


A POSIX standard (IEEE 1003.1c) API for thread creation and syn

Pthreads is a specification for thread behavior, not an implementation. The
implementation is up to the specific OS.

Common in UNIX operating systems.

A multithreaded C program using the Pthreads API. (Figure 4.6)

Win32 Threads

The technique
for creating threads using Win32 thread library is similar to Pthreads.

A multithreaded C program using the Win32 API. (Figure 4.7)

Java Threads

Java threads can be created in two techniques.

Create a new class derived from Thread class and override run()

Define a class implementing the Runnable interface.

Java threads are managed by the JVM.

Java threads are mapped to the underlying host operating system.

An example using Java threads. (Figure 4.8)

Threading Issues

The fork() and exec() system call

Two versions of fork() called by one thread

To duplicate all the threads

To duplicate the calling thread only

No change for exec().


Thread cancellation is the task of terminating a thread before it has completed.

Asynchronous cancellation:
one thread immediately terminates the target

Deferred cancellation: the target thread can periodically check whether it should
terminate, allowing the target thread an opportunity to terminate itself in an
orderly fashion.

Threading Issues

Signal H

Signal is generated by the occurrence of a particular event. A generated signal is
delivered to a process. Once delivered, the signal must be handled.

Signal handling: default or user
defined signal handler.

Where should a signal be delivered in m
ultithreaded programs?

To the thread to which the signal applies

To every thread in the process

To certain threads in the process

Assign a specific thread to receive all signals for the process.

Threading Issues

Thread Pools

Thread pool: To create a number

of threads at the process startup and place
them into a pool, where they sit and wait for work.

Servicing a request with an existing thread is usually faster than waiting to
create a thread.

A thread pool limits the number of threads that exist at any one


Specific Data

Specific data needed by each thread.

Win32, Pthreads, Java supports thread
specific data.

Scheduler Activations

Scheme for communication between user
thread library and kernel.

Kernel provides an application with a set of virtu
al processors (lightweight
process, LWP), and the application can schedule user threads onto an available
virtual processor.

Windows XP Threads

Win32 API implements the one
one mapping.

Fiber library supports many
many model.

Each thread contains gen
eral components

a thread id

a register set

separate user and kernel stacks

private data storage area

Each thread includes three primary data structures (Figure 4.10)

ETHREAD (executive thread block)

KTHREAD (kernel thread block)

TEB (thread environment blo

Linux Threads

Thread creation is done through clone() system call.

Linux generally uses the term task rather than process or thread.

clone() allows a child task to share a set of flags

CLONE_SIGHAND, CLONE_FILES) with its parent task.

fork() allows a child task to have a copy of all the associated data structures of its parent