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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is multithreading?
3.
What are the benefits of multithreading programming?
3.1.
Responsiveness
3.2.
Faster context switching
3.3.
Resource sharing
3.4.
Cost-effective
3.5.
Easy communication
3.6.
Proper utilization of multiprocessor architecture 
3.7.
Economy
3.8.
Scalability
3.9.
Utilizing Microprocessor Architecture
3.10.
Minimized System Resource Usage
3.11.
Concurrency Enhancement
3.12.
Minimized Time for Context Switching
4.
Frequently Asked Questions
4.1.
Which is faster, multithreading or multiprocessing?
4.2.
What are the unique properties of threads that are not shared?
4.3.
What are some disadvantages of multithreading?
5.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2024
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Benefits of Multithreading

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Introduction

Threads are the basic units of CPU utilization by the operating systems. As the name suggests, in multithreading, several threads are executed together. So today, we will learn about the advantages of multithreading. 

Benefits of Multithreading

In this article, we will focus on the benefits of multithreading. First of all, we will learn what multithreading is and then move to its advantages. 

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What is multithreading?

We are aware that each process can have one or more than one thread. We call a process multithreaded when it has multiple threads. Thus in multithreading, several threads are executed together. These threads share common code, data files, and other operating system resources belonging to the same process.

What is multithreading

Let us relate multithreading to a simple example for better understanding. When we encounter complex code, we break it down into simpler functions. Multithreading also has a similar concept. It divides its tasks into threads, and then multiple threads execute simultaneously. A process can perform various operations simultaneously when it has multiple threads of control. Below is the pictorial representation of a multi-threaded process.

Thread example

 

Also See, FCFS Scheduling Algorithm and Open Source Operating System

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What are the benefits of multithreading programming?

Now, after discussing what multithreading is, we will see what its benefits are. The benefits of multithreading can majorly be of six types. These are listed below.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Since a process has multiple threads, so different threads do different tasks.

To understand how multithreading affects responsiveness, let us take an example. Consider a process that includes task A, task B, and task C. Thread 1 is performing task A, thread 2 is performing task B, and thread 3 is performing task C. If for some reason, thread 2 is blocked or waiting for a long time, in such a case, multithreading helps increase responsiveness. This is achieved since thread 1, and thread 3 can continue doing their work, increasing responsiveness. 

One real-life example is that multithreading allows a person to see the video even when the webpage is still loading. This happens because the video is playing on one thread in a multi-threaded web browser, and the website is loading on a different thread.

Faster context switching

Context switching is a process that allowes the threads to be switched from the CPU so that another thread could be executed and save the state of the current thread so that the current thread can be continued from where it left.

The context switching time is less between two threads than between two processes. This is the reason why multithreading enables faster context switching.

Faster context switching

The figure shows that threads share the same Operating System resources, like code, data, files, etc., of the same process. Whereas in the case of processes, each process has its own copy of the code, data, files, etc. Since threads share the common memory and thus have the same cache, context switching in threads is faster than processes.

Resource sharing

Resource Sharing

The threads of a process share the memory and the resources of that process among themselves. The code, data, files, and other operating system resources are the same for the threads of a process. When there is sharing of code and data, then within the same address space, the application can have multiple threads of activity.

Consider the example of a text editor that auto-corrects the spelling while one is typing. It also indents the line properly. Multiple threads share the same doc file. Hence they share the same memory and work on a common file. If there were multiple processes instead of multiple threads, then each of these works would require a separate copy of the doc file. This will lead to a requirement for greater memory.

Resource sharing is one of the most important aspects of multithreading.

Cost-effective

Cost-effective

The jobs of allocating memory and other resources for process creation are costly in terms of space and time. Every process requires its own memory. However, in the case of multithreading, since the threads share the resources( code, data, etc.) of a process, it is very cost-effective to create multiple threads. Multithreading is comparatively faster than creating multiple processes. Also, the resources required are less. These two reasons encourage one to go for multithreading.

Easy communication

Easy communication

Since the threads share the resources of a process, they can communicate with each other very fast.

Proper utilization of multiprocessor architecture 

Multiprocessor architecture

Let us consider a situation where we have four  CPUs ( processors). If we have a process with a single thread, we can only use one of the CPUs without utilizing the other three. This is where multithreading is beneficial for the judicious use of multiprocessor architecture. 

In the case of multithreading, multiple threads can run in parallel on different processors, hence making full use of multiprocessor architecture. This will significantly enhance the overall performance.

Must Read Evolution of Operating System

Click on the following link to read further: Multitasking Operating System

Economy

Multithreading allows for the efficient use of resources, enabling multiple tasks to share the same resources (such as CPU time and memory) without the need for separate processes. This results in reduced overhead and costs associated with managing multiple independent processes.

Scalability

Multithreading enhances scalability by allowing a program to take advantage of multiple CPU cores or processors. Tasks can be divided into threads that can execute concurrently, enabling better utilization of available hardware resources and improving overall system performance as workload increases.

Utilizing Microprocessor Architecture

Multithreading exploits the parallelism inherent in modern microprocessor architectures. By dividing tasks into smaller threads, the processor can execute multiple threads simultaneously or switch between them rapidly, maximizing throughput and efficiency.

Minimized System Resource Usage

Multithreading minimizes system resource usage by allowing threads to share resources such as memory and I/O devices. This reduces duplication of resources and overhead associated with creating and managing separate processes for each task, leading to more efficient resource utilization.

Concurrency Enhancement

Multithreading enhances concurrency by allowing multiple threads to execute concurrently within the same process. This enables tasks to overlap in execution, leading to improved responsiveness, better throughput, and enhanced overall system performance.

Minimized Time for Context Switching

Context switching refers to the process of saving and restoring the state of a thread or process when switching between tasks. Multithreading minimizes the time required for context switching compared to switching between separate processes, as threads within the same process share the same memory space and can switch more quickly. This results in reduced overhead and improved system responsiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is faster, multithreading or multiprocessing?

Multithreading is faster than multiprocessing.

What are the unique properties of threads that are not shared?

The unique properties of threads that are not shared are thread id, stack, register, etc.

What are some disadvantages of multithreading?

Some disadvantages of multithreading are difficulty managing concurrency, complex code, and debugging.

Conclusion

In this article, we saw some major advantages of multithreading. We learned that in multithreading, more than one thread is simultaneously executing. The threads share the code, data, and files. This leads to greater resource sharing. Context switching is very fast because of resource sharing. Multithreading allows the judicious use of multiprocessor architecture. Multithreading allows better responsiveness.

Check out our articles if you think this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge and want to learn more. Visit our website to read more such blogs. 

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