Java LanguageUsing ThreadPoolExecutor in MultiThreaded applications.

Introduction

When creating a performant and data-driven application, it can be very helpful to complete time-intensive tasks in an asynchronous manner and to have multiple tasks running concurrently. This topic will introduce the concept of using ThreadPoolExecutors to complete multiple ansynchronous tasks concurrently.

Performing Asynchronous Tasks Where No Return Value Is Needed Using a Runnable Class Instance

Some applications may want to create so-called "Fire & Forget" tasks which can be periodically triggered and do not need to return any type of value returned upon completion of the assigned task (for example, purging old temp files, rotating logs, autosaving state).

In this example, we will create two classes: One which implements the Runnable interface, and one which contains a main() method.

AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter.java

import lombok.extern.java.Log;

import java.util.concurrent.ThreadLocalRandom;
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit;

@Log
public class AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter implements Runnable {
    private int taskNumber;

    public AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter(int taskNumber) {
        this.taskNumber = taskNumber;
    }

    public void run() {
        int timeout = ThreadLocalRandom.current().nextInt(1, 20);
        try {
            log.info(String.format("Task %d is sleeping for %d seconds", taskNumber, timeout));
            TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(timeout);
            log.info(String.format("Task %d is done sleeping", taskNumber));

        } catch (InterruptedException e) {
            log.warning(e.getMessage());
        }
    }
}

AsyncExample1

import java.util.concurrent.ExecutorService;
import java.util.concurrent.Executors;

public class AsyncExample1 {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        ExecutorService executorService = Executors.newCachedThreadPool();
        for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++){
            executorService.execute(new AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter(i));
        }
        executorService.shutdown();
    }
}

Running AsyncExample1.main() resulted in the following output:

Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 8 is sleeping for 18 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 6 is sleeping for 4 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 2 is sleeping for 6 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 3 is sleeping for 4 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 9 is sleeping for 14 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 4 is sleeping for 9 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 5 is sleeping for 10 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 0 is sleeping for 7 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 1 is sleeping for 9 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:03 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 7 is sleeping for 8 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:07 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 6 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:07 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 3 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:09 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 2 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:10 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 0 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:11 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 7 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:12 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 4 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:12 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 1 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:13 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 5 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:17 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 9 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 2:21:21 PM AsyncMaintenanceTaskCompleter run
INFO: Task 8 is done sleeping

Process finished with exit code 0

Observations of Note: There are several things to note in the output above,

  1. The tasks did not execute in a predictable order.
  2. Since each task was sleeping for a (pseudo)random amount of time, they did not necessarily complete in the order in which they were invoked.

Performing Asynchronous Tasks Where a Return Value Is Needed Using a Callable Class Instance

It is often necessary to execute a long-running task and use the result of that task once it has completed.

In this example, we will create two classes: One which implements the Callable<T> interface (where T is the type we wish to return), and one which contains a main() method.

AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter.java

import lombok.extern.java.Log;

import java.util.concurrent.Callable;
import java.util.concurrent.ThreadLocalRandom;
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit;

@Log
public class AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter implements Callable<Integer> {
    private int taskNumber;

    public AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter(int taskNumber) {
        this.taskNumber = taskNumber;
    }

    @Override
    public Integer call() throws Exception {
        int timeout = ThreadLocalRandom.current().nextInt(1, 20);
        try {
            log.info(String.format("Task %d is sleeping", taskNumber));
            TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(timeout);
            log.info(String.format("Task %d is done sleeping", taskNumber));

        } catch (InterruptedException e) {
            log.warning(e.getMessage());
        }
        return timeout;
    }
}

AsyncExample2.java

import lombok.extern.java.Log;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.concurrent.ExecutionException;
import java.util.concurrent.ExecutorService;
import java.util.concurrent.Executors;
import java.util.concurrent.Future;

@Log
public class AsyncExample2 {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        ExecutorService executorService = Executors.newCachedThreadPool();
        List<Future<Integer>> futures = new ArrayList<>();
        for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++){
            Future<Integer> submittedFuture = executorService.submit(new AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter(i));
            futures.add(submittedFuture);
        }
        executorService.shutdown();
        while(!futures.isEmpty()){
            for(int j = 0; j < futures.size(); j++){
                Future<Integer> f = futures.get(j);
                if(f.isDone()){
                    try {
                        int timeout = f.get();
                        log.info(String.format("A task just completed after sleeping for %d seconds", timeout));
                        futures.remove(f);
                    } catch (InterruptedException | ExecutionException e) {
                        log.warning(e.getMessage());
                    }
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

Running AsyncExample2.main() resulted in the following output:

Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 7 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 8 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 2 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 1 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 4 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 9 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 0 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 6 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 5 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:15 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 3 is sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:16 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 8 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:16 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 1 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:17 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 2 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:17 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 2 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:17 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 9 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:17 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 2 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:19 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 3 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:19 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 4 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:20 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 0 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:20 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 5 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:21 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 5 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:21 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 6 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:25 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 1 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:25 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 10 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:27 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 6 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:27 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 12 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:29 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 7 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:29 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 14 seconds
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:31 PM AsyncValueTypeTaskCompleter call
INFO: Task 4 is done sleeping
Dec 28, 2016 3:07:31 PM AsyncExample2 main
INFO: A task just completed after sleeping for 16 seconds

Observations of Note:

There are several things to note in the output above,

  1. Each call to ExecutorService.submit() returned an instance of Future, which was stored in a list for later use
  2. Future contains a method called isDone() which can be used to check whether our task has been completed before attempting to check it's return value. Calling the Future.get() method on a Future that is not yet done will block the current thread until the task is complete, potentially negating many benefits gained from performing the task Asynchronously.
  3. The executorService.shutdown() method was called prior to checking the return values of the Future objects. This is not required, but was done in this way to show that it is possible. The executorService.shutdown() method does not prevent the completion of tasks which have already been submitted to the ExecutorService, but rather prevents new tasks from being added to the Queue.

Defining Asynchronous Tasks Inline using Lambdas

While good software design often maximizes code reusability, sometimes it can be useful to define asynchronous tasks inline in your code via Lambda expressions to maximize code readability.

In this example, we will create a single class which contains a main() method. Inside this method, we will use Lambda expressions to create and execute instances of Callable and Runnable<T>.

AsyncExample3.java

import lombok.extern.java.Log;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.concurrent.*;

@Log
public class AsyncExample3 {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        ExecutorService executorService = Executors.newCachedThreadPool();
        List<Future<Integer>> futures = new ArrayList<>();
        for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++){
            final int index = i;
            executorService.execute(() -> {
                int timeout = getTimeout();
                log.info(String.format("Runnable %d has been submitted and will sleep for %d seconds", index, timeout));
                try {
                    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(timeout);
                } catch (InterruptedException e) {
                    log.warning(e.getMessage());
                }
                log.info(String.format("Runnable %d has finished sleeping", index));
            });
            Future<Integer> submittedFuture = executorService.submit(() -> {
                int timeout = getTimeout();
                log.info(String.format("Callable %d will begin sleeping", index));
                try {
                    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(timeout);
                } catch (InterruptedException e) {
                    log.warning(e.getMessage());
                }
                log.info(String.format("Callable %d is done sleeping", index));
                return timeout;
            });
            futures.add(submittedFuture);
        }
        executorService.shutdown();
        while(!futures.isEmpty()){
            for(int j = 0; j < futures.size(); j++){
                Future<Integer> f = futures.get(j);
                if(f.isDone()){
                    try {
                        int timeout = f.get();
                        log.info(String.format("A task just completed after sleeping for %d seconds", timeout));
                        futures.remove(f);
                    } catch (InterruptedException | ExecutionException e) {
                        log.warning(e.getMessage());
                    }
                }
            }
        }
    }

    public static int getTimeout(){
        return ThreadLocalRandom.current().nextInt(1, 20);
    }
}

Observations of Note:

There are several things to note in the output above,

  1. Lambda expressions have access to variables and methods which are available to the scope in which they are defined, but all variables must be final (or effectively final) for use inside a lambda expression.
  2. We do not have to specify whether our Lambda expression is a Callable or a Runnable<T> explicitly, the return type is inferred automatically by the return type.