What Is Multithreading In Operating Systems and Programming? – POFTUT

What Is Multithreading In Operating Systems and Programming?

Multithreading is a popular term used in computing, operating systems, and application development areas. Multithreading is simply used to accelerate the execution of the process dividing into multiple sub-processes.

What Is Process?

The process is the main unit used to execute the given task in the operating system. The process has some system resources like memory, CPU, disk, etc. in order to complete the given task. A single process can execute the only single task at a given time.

What Is Thread?

Thread is a subprocess or tiny process which runs inside a process. Thread uses the process resources and provides the ability to run multiple tasks at the same time by using a given Central Processing Unit (CPU) cores or thread functions.

What Is Multithread?

Multithreading is the term used to run multiple threads inside a single process in order to execute multiple tasks at the same time. Multithreading can be done by using CPU threads via the operating system or using programming language ability to run multiple threads. Currently, most of the applications use multithreading in order to provide a better user experience.

Uses of Multithreading

Multithreading can be used in different areas for different cases

  • Today IT creates a lot of data which is very hard to processes. Single processes can not consume big data in a given time frame. We can use multithreading in order to dive the big data into multiple parts to processes with multiple threads
  • While using a single applications it may provide a lot of checks, controls or background tasks that should be done while the user is using the applications. We can use multithreading in order to execute multiple tasks like a check, save, filter, update in a single application is real-time.
  • Games require a lot of processing power where multiple threads can be used to accomplish different tasks and provide this processing power.
  • In mobile systems like Android,iPhone there are a lot of services that need to run always and check new data, status from remote services. Multithreading can be used to run these multiple services.
  • Currently, web applications gained very interactive usage. Multithreading is used to run multiple tasks at the same time.
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Advantages of Multithreading

Multithreading provides different advantages for a system and application.

  • `Efficiency`: Creating a thread is very efficient where the same resources of the given process are used.
  • `Resource Sharing`: As stated in the previous step the thread will use the given process resources which will make the resource usage lesser.
  • `Responsiveness`: By running multiple tasks at the same time the responsiveness can be improved.
  • `Scalability`: A single big task can be divided into multiple little tasks and these tasks can be run in multiple threads which will scale the big task.

Multithreading Types

There is two main multithreading types or method. We call them  pre-emptive and cooperative` multithreading. These types are related to the context switching methodology of the threads.


In pre-emptive multithreading, the operating system decides the context switching which means the pausing of the given thread and running other threads. For example, a low priority thread can be started by pausing a high priority thread.


In cooperative multithreading, the context switching is controlled by the threads. The active thread will pause itself and swith to the next thread voluntarily. But this type of switching can create some deadlock because the threads can be managed and check the OS resources.

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