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What is Thread in Java?

In this blog post, we’ll look in-depth into the world of threads, learning what they are, how they work, and why they’re crucial in Java programming. Whether you’re a beginner just starting with Java or an experienced developer looking to improve your skills, this post will provide the foundational knowledge you need to understand threads and use them effectively in your projects. 

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Introduction to Threads in Java

In Java, a thread is a lightweight sub-process allowing concurrent execution of two or more program parts. Each thread has its call stack but shares the same memory space as the other threads in the process. 

This enables threads to efficiently share data and resources without the need for costly inter-process communication.

Threads are implemented in Java using the Thread class and the Runnable interface. The thread class provides methods for creating, initiating, stopping, and controlling threads, whereas the Runnable interface defines the run() function, which contains thread code.

Multithreading is a powerful Java feature that allows developers to create programs that can handle several tasks at once, improving performance and responsiveness. However, careful planning and management are required to avoid issues such as race conditions, deadlocks, and resource scarcity.

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Thread Life Cycle in Java

Understanding a thread’s life cycle is essential for proper thread management and control in Java. A thread’s life cycle consists of various phases, and a thread can move between these states throughout execution. The following are the major states of the thread life cycle in Java

Creating Threads in Java

Creating Threads in Java

There are two ways to create threads in Java :

Let us look at an example to understand it better.

We will create a new category called ‘MyThread’ that will extend the old ‘Thread’ category and then utilize the ‘run()’ function to send a message to the console. Once the initial task is complete, we will begin a new implementation of ‘MyThread’ within the ‘main()’ function and call the ‘start()’ function to start the thread.

class MyThread extends Thread {
  public void run() {
    System.out.println("MyThread is running");
public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    MyThread myThread = new MyThread();

When the ‘start()’ function is called, the ‘run()’ method of the ‘MyThread’ class is executed on a separate thread. The output of the program will be

Output – 

MyThread is running

First, create a class that properly implements the ‘Runnable’ interface. Remember, this interface has only one function that the class must implement: ‘run()’. The ‘run()’ method implementation must include code the user wants to run on a different thread.

After that, create an instance of the class and assign it to a ‘Thread’ object. Then, thread by invoking the ‘start()’ function on the ‘Thread’ object.

Let’s look at an example to understand it better. 

We’ll create a ‘MyTask’ category that implements the ‘Runnable’ interface. Within this category, the ‘run()’ function must display a message indicating which thread executes the code.

In the ‘main()’ function, we will create an instance of ‘MyTask’ and pass it to a ‘Thread’ entity. We will start the thread with the ‘start()’ function on the ‘Thread’ item. This will execute the ‘run()’ method of ‘MyTask’ in a separate thread.

public class MyTask implements Runnable {
  public void run() {
    // Code to be executed by the thread
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
      System.out.println("Hello from thread " + Thread.currentThread().getId() + " - " + I);
public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    MyTask task = new MyTask();
    Thread thread = new Thread(task);

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Thread Methods in Java

Thread class includes numerous thread management techniques. Some of the most prevalent ways are as follows:

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Thread Priority in Java

We can assign priorities to threads to indicate which thread is more important. The thread scheduler employs priorities to determine the order in which threads execute. Lower-priority threads are executed first. The default priority of a thread is 5 (normal priority). The range is from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). We can set and get thread priorities in Java using the setPriority() and getPriority() methods.

It is important to remember that the exact behavior of thread priority may differ between platforms and operating systems. As a result, there needs to be more than just thread priorities for program execution.

Thread t1 = new Thread(); 
t1.setPriority(7); // Set priority to 7 
t1.getPriority(); // Returns 7

Thread Synchronization in Java

Thread Synchronization in Java

Thread synchronization is essential when many threads interact with shared resources to guarantee that they do not interfere with each other’s execution. Java uses synchronized blocks and methods to perform synchronization. Use the synchronized keyword to synchronize access to shared resources. A monitor lock is obtained when a thread enters a synchronized block or function, which stops other threads from accessing the same resource until the lock is surrendered.

Thread synchronization mechanisms in Java include the synchronized keyword, locks, and atomic variables.

Synchronized Keyword – In Java, the keyword synchronized refers to a block of code or a method that may only be accessed by one thread at a time. This is known as synchronization. When a thread enters a synchronized block, it receives a lock on the related object. Other threads cannot enter the same block until the lock is released. There are two ways to utilize the synchronized keyword.

public synchronized void myMethod() {
    // Synchronized method

Only one thread can execute the’myMethod()’ method at a time in this example.

synchronized (object) {
    // Synchronized code block

The ‘object’ in this example is the object that will be used as the lock. Regardless of how many threads are ready to execute the code block, only one can do so now.

Locks – Locks in Java allow only one thread to access a shared resource at a time. They can be implemented using the ‘Lock’ interface and its implementations, such as ‘ReentrantLock’. In multi-threaded programs, locks provide thread safety and synchronization.

import java.util.concurrent.locks.Lock;
import java.util.concurrent.locks.ReentrantLock;
public class SharedResource {
  private Lock lock = new ReentrantLock();
  public void method() {
    try {
      // Code to be executed
    } finally {

Atomic Variables – Atomic variables in Java are variables that can be read and written atomically without the requirement for locking. They are built with classes like ‘AtomicInteger,’ ‘AtomicLong,’ and ‘AtomicBoolean,’ among others. In multi-threaded systems, atomic variables ensure thread safety and synchronization. They provide methods like ‘get()’, ‘set()’, ‘incrementAndGet()’, and ‘compareAndSet()’, among others, that can be used to perform atomic actions without the need for explicit locking. This makes them beneficial for improving the performance of multi-threaded programs.

import java.util.concurrent.atomic.AtomicInteger;
public class Counter {
  private AtomicInteger count = new AtomicInteger(0);
  public void increment() {
  public int getCount() {
    return count.get();

Best Practices for Thread Management

Thread management is critical for designing scalable and efficient Java programs. The following are some best practices regarding thread management

  1. Avoid creating too many threads, as it can lead to performance degradation.
  2. Use thread priority with caution, as it does not ensure thread execution order.
  3. Use thread pools to manage threads efficiently.
  4. Use thread synchronization to prevent race conditions and thread interference.
  5. Always release monitor locks as soon as they are no longer needed.


Threads allow you to run several tasks in a program at the same time. In Java, you may create threads by extending the Thread class or implementing the Runnable interface. Threads go through many stages during their life cycle. To construct a strong multithreaded program in Java, you may additionally set thread priorities, and employ synchronization with numerous threads methods.

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