Java Language Multiple threads with one shared object


Example

In this example we have only one object but it is shared between/executed on different threads. Ordinary usage of fields to save state would not be possible because the other thread would see that too (or probably not see).

public class Test {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Foo foo = new Foo();
        new Thread(foo, "Thread 1").start();
        new Thread(foo, "Thread 2").start();
    }
}

In Foo we count starting from zero. Instead of saving the state to a field we store our current number in the ThreadLocal object which is statically accessible. Note that the synchronization in this example is not related to the usage of ThreadLocal but rather ensures a better console output.

public class Foo implements Runnable {
    private static final int ITERATIONS = 10;
    private static final ThreadLocal<Integer> threadLocal = new ThreadLocal<Integer>() {
        @Override
        protected Integer initialValue() {
            return 0;
        }
    };

    @Override
    public void run() {
        for (int i = 0; i < ITERATIONS; i++) {
            synchronized (threadLocal) {
                //Although accessing a static field, we get our own (previously saved) value.
                int value = threadLocal.get();
                System.out.println(Thread.currentThread().getName() + ": " + value);
                
                //Update our own variable
                threadLocal.set(value + 1);

                try {
                    threadLocal.notifyAll();
                    if (i < ITERATIONS - 1) {
                        threadLocal.wait();
                    }
                } catch (InterruptedException ex) {
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

From the output we can see that each thread counts for itself and does not use the value of the other one:

Thread 1: 0
Thread 2: 0
Thread 1: 1
Thread 2: 1
Thread 1: 2
Thread 2: 2
Thread 1: 3
Thread 2: 3
Thread 1: 4
Thread 2: 4
Thread 1: 5
Thread 2: 5
Thread 1: 6
Thread 2: 6
Thread 1: 7
Thread 2: 7
Thread 1: 8
Thread 2: 8
Thread 1: 9
Thread 2: 9