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Common Fork Join Pool and Streams

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Common Fork Join Pool and Streams

Parallel streams are a boon to concurrency, and Common Fork Join Pools are an important part of that interaction. This overview should shed some light on how they work.

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In my post Dipping into Java 8 Streams, a comment was added that I should explain what the Common Fork Join Pool is and how it is linked to parallel streams. Honestly, I had never heard of it, so I set out on my quest to find the answer somewhere on the Internet and make this post to attempt to follow up on the posted comment. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to reach the understanding about this subject that I hoped I would, so I am going to write what I found out from doing some research and from debugging some code myself. If you think anything is missing, then leave a comment. This is, after all, a place to learn!

So let's start with something I am pretty sure about. When you use a parallel stream, it will run its process in multiple threads when appropriate. Now that’s what you would expect, as it has the word parallel in its name. But what it doesn’t say is that all the parallel streams that you create will share their threads from one Common Fork Join Pool. This shouldn’t be a problem if you're just using a single parallel stream every now and then, but if you're running a few of them concurrently, it might run slower than expected, as the threads they use are being shared between them. Another piece of information to note is that although it is called a parallel stream, it does not run concurrently by default. The Collection that is being processed is done multi-threaded but the main thread will still wait for the overall process to finish.

Let's start with a single parallel stream to see how many threads it creates so we have a baseline to continue from.

public class CommonForkJoinPoolExample1 {

    public static void main(String args[]) throws InterruptedException {

        final List<Integer> numbers = getNumbers();

        numbers.parallelStream().forEach(n -> {
            try {
                Thread.sleep(5);
                System.out.println("Loop 1 : " + Thread.currentThread());
            } catch (InterruptedException e) {

            }
        });
    }

    private static List<Integer> getNumbers() {
        for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
        numbers.add(i);
        return Collections.unmodifiableList(numbers);
    }

}

 Thread [main] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-2] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-3] 

So if you debug into this code after adding some breakpoints into the forEach code, it shows that when a parallel stream is run, it uses the main thread and the threads in the Common Fork Join Pool.

Now let's see what happens when two parallel streams are run at once. What happens to the threads that are used?

public class CommonForkJoinPoolExample2 {

    public static void main(String args[]) throws InterruptedException {

        final List<Integer> numbers = getNumbers();

        Thread t1 = new Thread(() -> numbers.parallelStream().forEach(n -> {
            try {
                Thread.sleep(5);
                System.out.println("Loop 1 : " + Thread.currentThread());
            } catch (InterruptedException e) {

            }
        }));
        Thread t2 = new Thread(() -> numbers.parallelStream().forEach(n -> {
            try {
                Thread.sleep(5);
                System.out.println("Loop 2 : " + Thread.currentThread());
            } catch (InterruptedException e) {

            }
        }));

        t1.start();
        t2.start();
        t1.join();
        t2.join();
    }

    private static List<Integer> getNumbers() {
        List<Integer> numbers = new ArrayList<>(5);
        for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
        numbers.add(i);
        return Collections.unmodifiableList(numbers);
    }

}

 Thread [Thread-0] 
 Thread [Thread-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-2] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-3] 

From this, you can see the running threads consist of the two created threads plus the common pool threads. Even though the two parallel streams are being run concurrently, there is no indication of this from looking at the common pool threads and can only be seen by the fact that there are two normal threads running as well.

So how do you make the parallel streams use their own Fork Join Pools instead of sharing the common pool? Well, you need to create your own ForkJoinPool object and use this pool to contain the stream code.

public class ForkJoinPoolExample {

	public static void main(String args[]) throws InterruptedException {

        List<Integer> numbers = buildIntRange();

        ForkJoinPool forkJoinPool = new ForkJoinPool(4);
        Thread t1 = new Thread(() -> forkJoinPool.submit(() -> {
            numbers.parallelStream().forEach(n -> {
                try {
                    Thread.sleep(5);
                    System.out.println("Loop 1 : " + Thread.currentThread());
                } catch (InterruptedException e) {

                }
            });
        }).invoke());

        ForkJoinPool forkJoinPool2 = new ForkJoinPool(4);
        Thread t2 = new Thread(() -> forkJoinPool2.submit(() -> {
            numbers.parallelStream().forEach(n -> {
                try {
                    Thread.sleep(5);
                    System.out.println("Loop 2 : " + Thread.currentThread());
                } catch (InterruptedException e) {

                }
            });
        }).invoke());

        t1.start();
        t2.start();
        t1.join();
        t2.join();

    }

    private static List<Integer> buildIntRange() {
        List<Integer> numbers = new ArrayList<>(5);
        for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
        numbers.add(i);
        return Collections.unmodifiableList(numbers);
    }

}

The number defined in ForkJoinPool(4) refers to the number of threads in the pool, which in this case is four threads. One of the ways to execute a parallel stream from inside a ForkJoinPool is to submit a Runnable task (which submits the task to be executed sometime in the future) and is invoked to start its execution. Let's look at the threads.

 Thread [Thread-0] 
 Thread [Thread-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-2] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool.commonPool-worker-3] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-1-worker-0] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-1-worker-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-1-worker-2] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-1-worker-3] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-2-worker-0] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-2-worker-1] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-2-worker-2] 
 [Daemon Thread [ForkJoinPool-2-worker-3] 

The first thing you see is that there are way more threads being run. The second thing you will probably notice is that pools ForkJoinPool-1 and ForkJoinPool-2 now exist and have four workers/threads defined from 0 to 3. Hopefully, you will also notice that the common pool is still there even though streams are being run from inside the defined Fork Join Pools. Honestly, I do not know how this happens, but it looks like when a ForkJoinPool is defined, the common pool will still be used — with the defined pool being added on top. So if you know something about this, leave a comment!

Hopefully, in this post, I have somewhat answered the comment that was left on my Dipping into Java 8 Streams. If I haven’t done this effectively, maybe someone will leave a comment telling me how silly I am (hopefully not in much harsher words) while also adding some useful information for everyone to see.

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Topics:
java ,java 8 streams ,fork join ,tutorial ,parallel streams

Published at DZone with permission of Dan Newton, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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