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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Java 5 Concurrency: Reader-Writer Locks

As long as threads are only reading and not writing to shared data, they can run in parallel without any serious issues. The java.util.concurrent.locks package provides classes that implement this type of locking. The ReadWriteLock interface maintains a pair of associated locks, one for read-only and one for writing. The readLock() may be held simultaneously by multiple reader threads, while the writeLock() is exclusive. While this implementation improves performance when compared to the mutex locks, it also depends on other factors,
  • Requires a multi-processor system
  • The frequency of reads as compared to that of writes. A higher frequency of reads is more suitable.
  • Duration of reads as compared to that of writes. Read duration has to be longer, as short reads mean that the readLock will become an overhead.
  • Contention for the data, i.e. the number of threads that will try to read or write the data at the same time
Skip to Sample Code
The following are a few issues to be considered while creating a ReadWriteLock
  • Whether to grant the read lock or the write lock the priority.
  • Whether readers that request the read lock while a reader is active and a writer is waiting.
  • Whether the locks are reentrant.
  • Can the write lock be downgraded to a read lock without allowing an intervening writer?
  • Can a read lock be upgraded to a write lock, in preference to other waiting readers or writers?
The ReentrantReadWriteLock is an implementation of ReadWriteLock with similar semantics to ReentrantLock. The following is a list of properties of the ReentrantReadWriteLock.
  • Acquisition order: Does not impose a reader or writer preference ordering for lock access.
    • When constructed as fair, threads contend for entry using an approximately arrival-order policy.
    • When the write lock is released either the longest-waiting single writer will be assigned the write lock, or if there is a reader waiting longer than any writer, the set of readers will be assigned the read lock.

    • When constructed as non-fair, the order of entry to the lock need not be in arrival order.
    • if readers are active and a writer enters the lock then no subsequent readers will be granted the read lock until after that writer has acquired and released the write lock.
  • Reentrancy: Allows both readers and writers to reacquire read or write locks in the style of a ReentrantLock. A writer can acquire the read lock - but not vice-versa. If a reader tries to acquire the write lock it will never succeed.
  • Interruption of lock acquisition: The read lock and write lock both support interruption during lock acquisition.
  • Condition support: The write lock provides a Condition implementation that behaves in the same way, with respect to the write lock, as the one provided by ReentrantLock.newCondition(). The read lock does not support a Condition.
  • Instrumentation: Supports methods to determine whether locks are held or contended.
The following is Sample Code on how to use ReentrantReadWriteLock. In the example, a set of readers tries to print out an ArrayList represented by data, and a list of Writers tries to add data in to the list. The producer/consumer problem can be implemented by replacing the readers with consumers and writers with producers. Instead of just reading the list, the consumers will have to remove data from the list.
public class Data {
private List<String> names;
ReentrantReadWriteLock lock = new ReentrantReadWriteLock();

public Data() {
names = new ArrayList<String>();
}

public List<String> getNames() {
return names;
}

public void setNames(List<String> names) {
this.names = names;
}

public void add(String str) {
lock.writeLock().lock();
System.out.println("Writer: Number of threads waiting : " + lock.getQueueLength());

// This will alwas be 1.
System.out.println("Writer: Number of write locks waiting : " + lock.getWriteHoldCount());
names.add(str);
try {
Thread.sleep(100);
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
e.printStackTrace();
}
lock.writeLock().unlock();
}

public void readData() {
lock.readLock().lock();
System.out.println("Reader: Number of threads waiting : " + lock.getQueueLength());
System.out.println("Reader: Number of read locks : " + lock.getReadLockCount());
Iterator<String> iter = names.iterator();
while (iter.hasNext()) {
iter.next();
// System.out.println(iter.next());
}
try {
Thread.sleep(100);
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
e.printStackTrace();
}
lock.readLock().unlock();
}
}
Data.java
public class ListReader implements Runnable {
Data myData;
public void run() {
for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
myData.readData();
}
}

public ListReader(Data myData) {
super();
this.myData = myData;
}
}
ListReader.java
public class ListWriter implements Runnable {
Data myData;
public ListWriter(Data myData) {
super();
this.myData = myData;
}
public void run() {
for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
myData.add(Thread.currentThread().getName() + " : " + i);
}
}
}
ListWriter.java
  public static void main(String[] args) {
ListReader[] readers = new ListReader[THREADS];
ListWriter[] writers = new ListWriter[THREADS];
Data data = new Data();
Thread[] threads = new Thread[THREADS * 2];
for (int i = 0; i < THREADS; i++) {
readers[i] = new ListReader(data);
writers[i] = new ListWriter(data);
threads[i] = new Thread(readers[i], "" + i);
threads[i + THREADS] = new Thread(writers[i], "" + i);
}

for (int i = 0; i < THREADS * 2; i++) {
threads[i].start();
}

for (int i = 0; i < THREADS * 2; i++) {
try {
threads[i].join();
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
e.printStackTrace();
}
}

}
}
ReadWriteLockTest.java

1 comment:

  1. wow thats really the best tutorial for read/write lock in java

    ReplyDelete