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A Programming Model to Use a Thread Pool

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30 Sep 2000 146.7K   4.8K   48   20
A class to manage the thread pool

Introduction

On many occasions, we need to utilize multiple threads to boost the system performance. The logic for each thread is almost the same, but we need to manage these threads. If the system is busy, we create more threads, otherwise we kill some thread to avoid the extra overhead.

I have done a couple of projects involving the multiple-thread management. At last, I decided to write a class to wrap this mechanism. This class can dynamically allocate threads and assign jobs to these worker threads. You derive your own classes and you do not need to know the underlying mechanism to handle the multiple threading and synchronization between these threads. However, you need to make your worker classes thread safe since your objects may be assigned to different threads each time.

The other thing I want to demonstrate is using the feature of IOCompletion Port. I found that it is amazingly easy and useful, especially when used as a way to transfer data between threads.

Usage

To use the thread pool class, you need to derive your worker class from IWorker and your job class from IJobDesc. The processing logic must be embedded within the member function IWorker::ProcessJob(IJobDesc* pJob). After you are finished, you can declare a thread pool like this:

C++
CThreadPool pool;
pool.Start(6, 10);
//do some other jobs here
pool.Stop();

The Start function has two parameters. The first argument is the minimum number of the worker threads this thread pool object should spawn. The second argument indicates the maximum number of worker threads within this thread pool. If the thread pool is very busy working on the assigned jobs, it will automatically spawn more worker threads. On the other hand, when the thread pool is idle, some threads will be removed from the pool. Fine-tune these two parameters to get the best performance.

To assign jobs to the thread pool for processing, simply call the function:

C++
pool.ProcessJob(pJob, pWorker);

You must make sure that your derived worker class is thread-safe since a worker instance may be on multiple threads simultaneously. You have no control as to whether the process is on the same thread as the last time or not.

Note

If the processing takes a very long time, when you call Stop(), the processing may not finished immediately. The Stop() function will wait for a maximum of 2 minutes and then return. This function has an optional argument. If this argument is set to true, the function will terminate these worker threads anyway. If this argument is set to false, these worker threads will not get terminated harshly and still live. Under this situation, you have to take care that the worker object may not exist after calling Stop() and you will get an access violation error if you attempt to access them.

The job object must be generated on the heap using new operator. After the process ends, it will automatically be deleted by the framework.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.


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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralA question about CCriticalSection Pin
SeanQA28-Oct-08 20:26
SeanQA28-Oct-08 20:26 
GeneralWhen the menber function "Stop" is used twice and more Pin
SeanQA28-Oct-08 20:24
SeanQA28-Oct-08 20:24 
GeneralComment on design... Pin
Nigel de Costa4-Sep-06 23:02
Nigel de Costa4-Sep-06 23:02 
GeneralRe: Comment on design... Pin
alexquisi27-Mar-07 23:01
alexquisi27-Mar-07 23:01 
Generalhave memory leaks! Pin
pcbirdwang3-Aug-05 14:43
pcbirdwang3-Aug-05 14:43 
GeneralATL Server provides its own thread pool class Pin
Alexander Gräf6-May-04 4:10
Alexander Gräf6-May-04 4:10 
GeneralRemoveThreads bug Pin
LAT26-Jul-03 9:44
LAT26-Jul-03 9:44 
GeneralRe: RemoveThreads bug Pin
LAT27-Jul-03 0:54
LAT27-Jul-03 0:54 
GeneralRe: RemoveThreads bug Pin
WREY27-Jun-04 6:46
WREY27-Jun-04 6:46 
GeneralLinker could not find "pthreadVC.lib" Pin
WREY29-Aug-02 23:12
WREY29-Aug-02 23:12 
GeneralBug fixed! Pin
Simon.W25-Aug-02 16:27
Simon.W25-Aug-02 16:27 
GeneralOther considerations Pin
Bill Wilson21-Nov-01 11:48
Bill Wilson21-Nov-01 11:48 
GeneralRe: Other considerations Pin
Bill Wilson6-Dec-01 5:46
Bill Wilson6-Dec-01 5:46 
GeneralRe: Other considerations Pin
Bill Wilson6-Dec-01 6:05
Bill Wilson6-Dec-01 6:05 
GeneralThis is more like a hack than a clean solution Pin
zoly29-Jan-01 8:19
zoly29-Jan-01 8:19 
GeneralIOCP on Win16 based OSes Pin
Jim Murphy4-Oct-00 4:42
Jim Murphy4-Oct-00 4:42 
GeneralRe: IOCP on Win16 based OSes Pin
connex22-Apr-01 5:03
connex22-Apr-01 5:03 
QuestionIs there any benefit using 'struct' instead of 'class' to define the interface? Pin
tonyz26-Sep-00 8:36
tonyz26-Sep-00 8:36 
AnswerRe: Is there any benefit using 'struct' instead of 'class' to define the interface? Pin
Sherwood Hu26-Sep-00 10:51
Sherwood Hu26-Sep-00 10:51 
AnswerRe: Is there any benefit using 'struct' instead of 'class' to define the interface? Pin
Marius Cabas1-Oct-00 20:26
sussMarius Cabas1-Oct-00 20:26 

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