Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Java Multi-threading Vs Dual Core Processor

Multithreading could be categorized in two kinds:

1. Temporal multithreading where operating systems simulate doing many things at once by rapidly time-slicing between threads.
2. Simultaneous multithreading (SMT) when multiple threads executes instructions during the same clock cycle.

The java multithreading which we have known so far is actually temporal multithreading as most processors so far has been capable of executing only a single thread in a given time-slice.

True concurrency could actually be termed as Simultaneous multithreading (SMT). In past, SMT has been possible only on high-end multiprocessor systems. There arrives the Intel Dual Core Processor.

Intel dual core processor consists of two complete execution cores in one physical processor, both running at the same frequency. This is intended to provide immediate advantages to people looking to buy systems that boosts multitasking computing power and improve the throughput of multithreaded applications. To read more about dual core processors, refer http://www.intel.com/technology/computing/dual-core/.

Running Java program on a dual core processor does not immediately inherit advantages provided by SMT. One has to adapt the algorithms such that time consuming sections are performed by multiple threads designed to run simultaneously.

The java concurrency API should be used in such cases to speed up time-consuming tasks on dual core processors. The package java.util.concurrent classes could be used to achieve true concurrency. A simple approach for multithreading follows:
1. Develop a single-threaded, sequential, robust, and clearly organized version of your algorithm.
2. Identify the subtasks.
3. Benchmark the algorithm.
4. Delegate the most time-consuming subtasks to a thread pool.

For detail reading on java hyper-threading, visit http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-11-2006/jw-1121-thread.html?fsrc=rss-index


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