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Lesson 1

Introduction to the Java Threading Model

Threads are a very important part of the Java Programming Language. They allow you to create applications and applets that maximize the use of processing resources by interweaving the execution of multiple code sequences. Learning to program using threads is an essential Java programming skill. As such, threads are an important topic on the certification exam. You can expect to see several questions that will test your knowledge of how threads are
  1. created,
  2. started, and
  3. executed.
You will also have to know how threads move from one execution state to another and how threads access shared resources. Some exam questions will ask you to examine examples of program code and identify specific points within the code where threads are created and change state.

Module objectives

This module will introduce you to threads, cover the ins and outs of threads programming, and help you to satisfy the following exam objectives:
  1. Write code to define, instantiate, and start new threads using both java.lang.Thread class and the java.lang.Runnable interface.
  2. Recognize conditions that might prevent a thread from executing.
  3. Write code using synchronized wait(), notify(), and notifyAll() methods to protect against concurrent problems and to communicate between threads.
  4. Define the interaction between threads, and between threads and object locks when executing synchronized wait(), notify(), or notifyAll() methods.

In addition to the above, you will cover the topics of thread execution states and thread scheduling.

In Java, "thread" means two different things:
  1. An instance of class java.lang.Thread
  2. A thread of execution.
An instance of Thread is just an object. Like any other object in Java, it has variables and methods, and lives and dies on the heap. But a thread of execution is an individual process (a "lightweight" process) that has its own call stack. In Java, there is one thread per call stack, or to think of it in reverse,
one call stack per thread.
Even if you do not create any new threads in your program, threads are running in the background .

Nomenclature and Terms

In this module the terms Ready and Runnable mean the same thing.
Most of the diagrams in this module use the term Runnable and in some of the diagrams you will see the word "Ready"
This is the nomenclature that is used by Oracle.

public static final Thread.State RUNNABLE
Thread state for a runnable thread. A thread in the runnable state is executing in the 
Java virtual machine but it may be waiting for other resources from the operating system such as processor. 

On the following page in this module Thread States the term "created" is used in the diagram. The term "created" is the same as the term "New".