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CountDownLatch Use-Cases

DZone's Guide to

CountDownLatch Use-Cases

· Java Zone
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CountDownLatch is one of the classes that was added to the Java 5 concurrency package. It allows one or more threads to wait until a set of operations being performed in other threads are completed. In this article, I will talk about two use-cases where CountDownLatch can be used:

Use-case 1 :  Achieving Maximum Parallelism

Sometimes we have a use-case where we want to start a number of threads at the same time to achieve maximum parallelism. For example, we want to test a class which creates a single instance of some class.

public class ObjectFactory {

private volatile MyObject object;

public MyObject getInstance() {
if (object == null) {
synchronized (this) {
if (object == null) {
object = new MyObject();
}
}
}
return object;
}
}
Now we need to test that this class will only create a single instance of MyObject even when multiple threads access it parallely. To test this we will create a CountDownLatch and initialize it with 1. Then each thread will wait in its run method until the count down of the latch reaches zero. Because CountDownLatch is initialized with 1, a single thread call to countDown method will trigger all other threads to start at approximately the same time.
@Test
public void shouldCreateOnlySingleIntsanceOfAClassWhenTestedWithParallelThreads() throws Exception{
final ObjectFactory factory = new ObjectFactory();
final CountDownLatch startSignal = new CountDownLatch(1);
class MyThread extends Thread {
MyObject instance;
@Override
public void run() {
try {
startSignal.await();
instance = factory.getInstance();
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
// ignore
}
}
}
int threadCount = 1000;
MyThread[] threads = new MyThread[threadCount];
for (int i = 0;i< threadCount;i++) {
threads[i] = new MyThread();
threads[i].start();
}
startSignal.countDown();
for (MyThread myThread : threads) {
myThread.join();
}
MyObject instance = factory.getInstance();
for (MyThread myThread : threads) {
assertEquals(instance, myThread.instance);
}
}


Use-case 2  : Wait for several threads to complete

The second use-case arises when we want to wait for several threads to complete their work. In this scenario we will initialize the CountDownLatch with the number of threads we want to wait for and then each thread will call the countDown method on finishing its work. We will use the same example used in the first use-case where we used the method to make one thread wait for another thread to complete its work.

@Test
public void shouldCreateOnlySingleIntsanceOfAClassWhenTestedWithParallelThreads()
throws Exception {
int threadCount = 1000;
final ObjectFactory factory = new ObjectFactory();
final CountDownLatch startSignal = new CountDownLatch(1);
final CountDownLatch stopSignal = new CountDownLatch(threadCount);
class MyThread extends Thread {
MyObject instance;

@Override
public void run() {
try {
startSignal.await();
instance = factory.getInstance();
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
// ignore
} finally {
stopSignal.countDown();
}
}
}
MyThread[] threads = new MyThread[threadCount];
for (int i = 0; i < threadCount; i++) {
threads[i] = new MyThread();
threads[i].start();
}
startSignal.countDown();
stopSignal.await();
MyObject instance = factory.getInstance();
for (MyThread myThread : threads) {
assertEquals(instance, myThread.instance);
}
}

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