Saturday, July 4, 2015

Java Object Monitor

Monitors – The Basic Idea of Java Synchronization
In the Java virtual machine, every object and class is logically associated with a monitor. 

To implement the mutual exclusion capability of monitors, a lock (sometimes called a mutex) is associated with each object and class. This is called a semaphore in operating systems books, mutex is a binary semaphore.
If one thread owns a lock on some data, then no others can obtain that lock until the thread that owns the lock releases it. It would be not convenient if we need to write a semaphore all the time when we do multi-threading programming. Luckily, we don't need to since JVM does that for us automatically.
To claim a monitor region which means data not accessible by more than one thread, Java provide synchronized statements and synchronized methods. Once the code is embedded with synchronized keyword, it is a monitor region. The locks are implemented in the background automatically by JVM.
wait(long timeout, int nanos)
wait(long timeout) notified by other threads or notified by timeout. 
Those methods can only be invoked within a synchronized statement or synchronized method. The reason is that if a method does not require mutual exclusion, there is no need to monitor or collaborate between threads, every thread can access that method freely.
 monitor region is code that needs to be executed as one indivisible operation with respect to a particular monitor. In other words, one thread must be able to execute a monitor region from beginning to end without another thread concurrently executing a monitor region of the same monitor. A monitor enforces this one-thread-at-a-time execution of its monitor regions. The only way a thread can enter a monitor is by arriving at the beginning of one of the monitor regions associated with that monitor. The only way a thread can move forward and execute the monitor region is by acquiring the monitor.

When a thread arrives at the beginning of a monitor region, it is placed into an entry set for the associated monitor. The entry set is like the front hallway of the monitor building. If no other thread is waiting in the entry set and no other thread currently owns the monitor, the thread acquires the monitor and continues executing the monitor region. When the thread finishes executing the monitor region, it exits (and releases) the monitor.

If a thread arrives at the beginning of a monitor region that is protected by a monitor already owned by another thread, the newly arrived thread must wait in the entry set. When the current owner exits the monitor, the newly arrived thread must compete with any other threads also waiting in the entry set. Only one thread will win the competition and acquire the monitor.

Whereas mutual exclusion helps keep threads from interfering with one another while sharing data, cooperation helps threads to work together towards some common goal.
Cooperation is important when one thread needs some data to be in a particular state and another thread is responsible for getting the data into that state. For example, one thread, a "read thread," may be reading data from a buffer that another thread, a "write thread," is filling. The read thread needs the buffer to be in a "not empty" state before it can read any data out of the buffer. If the read thread discovers that the buffer is empty, it must wait. The write thread is responsible for filling the buffer with data. Once the write thread has done some more writing, the read thread can do some more reading.
The form of monitor used by the Java virtual machine is called a "Wait and Notify" monitor. (It is also sometimes called a "Signal and Continue" monitor.) In this kind of monitor, a thread that currently owns the monitor can suspend itself inside the monitor by executing a wait command. When a thread executes a wait, it releases the monitor and enters a wait set. The thread will stay suspended in the wait set until some time after another thread executes a notify command inside the monitor. When a thread executes a notify, it continues to own the monitor until it releases the monitor of its own accord, either by executing a wait or by completing the monitor region. After the notifying thread has released the monitor, the waiting thread will be resurrected and will reacquire the monitor.
Why Multiple Locks Allowed on a Same Monitor?
In Java language, any class instance is associated with a monitor that is used to lock-unlock objects by threads for synchronization.While only one thread at a time is holding a lock on an object's monitor, other threads are blocked until they can obtain a lock on that monitor. It is also legal to lock an object multiple times that each of unlock action will make the state of monitor reverse. But why do we lock an object multiple times? 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, You have written very nice article. I acquired good knowledge about Java. Keep it up! I will follow up your blog for future post. Thanks for sharing.
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