C Language Multithreading

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In C11 there is a standard thread library, <threads.h>, but no known compiler that yet implements it. Thus, to use multithreading in C you must use platform specific implementations such as the POSIX threads library (often referred to as pthreads) using the pthread.h header.


  • thrd_t // Implementation-defined complete object type identifying a thread
  • int thrd_create( thrd_t *thr, thrd_start_t func, void *arg ); // Creates a thread
  • int thrd_equal( thrd_t thr0, thrd_t thr1 ); // Check if arguments refer to the same thread
  • thr_t thrd_current(void); // Returns identifier of the thread that calls it
  • int thrd_sleep( const struct timespec *duration, struct timespec *remaining ); // Suspend call thread execution for at least a given time
  • void thrd_yield(void); // Permit other threads to run instead of the thread that calls it
  • _Noreturn void thrd_exit( int res ); // Terminates the thread the thread that calls it
  • int thrd_detatch( thrd_t thr; // Detaches a given thread from the current environment
  • int thrd_join( thrd_t thr, int *res ); // Blocks the current thread until the given thread finishes


Using threads can introduce extra undefined behavior such as a http://www.riptutorial.com/c/example/2622/data-race. For race-free access to variables that are shared between different threads C11 provides the mtx_lock() mutex functionality or the (optional) http://www.riptutorial.com/c/topic/4924/atomics data-types and associated functions in stdatomic.h.

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