What Is a Java Thread And Why Is It Used?

July 26, 2023
What is a Java Thread and Why is it Used

What is a Java Thread?

In Java, a path the program follows is a thread, and the number of threads in an application dictates its capability to work on or handle tasks. Single-threaded applications can process one task at a time, while multi-threaded applications can perform tasks equal to their number of threads. That said, no program in Java is pathless, and all have at least a single thread called the main thread.

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As it goes, the main thread in Java is made the instance the program starts by the JVM or Java Virtual Machine, while new thread generation is accomplished by extending a class or implementing an interface.

Java Thread & Java Process – The Difference

Due to the similarities between a thread and a process, many beginners often jumble the two. Truthfully, the two are not synonymous, as a process is a Java program, while a thread is a mere subset.

Further, a process can and often does entail multiple threads, while a thread in Java is a lightweight counterpart and not necessarily as complex as a process. Also, threads in Java don’t have their designated address space and work in the process address space, which they share with others.

Knowing the difference, it is a must to understand why to create threads. First and foremost, they help get more done in less time and improve the Java program’s efficiency. However, that’s not the only perk. Let’s delve deeper to understand why using multi-threads is a necessity, not an option.

Why Use Threads in Java?

In short, threads make an application faster as it powers it to do multiple tasks simultaneously, helping a developer achieve parallelism and greater efficiency. The reason for using threads in Java is the same as using a CPU with multiple cores; to get better response time.

However, even a multi-core CPU wouldn’t benefit application development if you work with a single thread, as it only uses a single core. Thus, multi-threads help leverage the machine’s full potential and use every core to build and program better applications in Java faster.

3 Reasons to Use Multi-threading in Java

So, multi-threading helps you take your CPU to its limit and program applications faster and more efficiently. But that’s only the umbrella benefit, and there are more exclusive reasons why you need to ditch a single thread and jump to multi-threads.

1) Reduces Response Time

We briefly discussed above how the motive behind multi-cores and multi-threads is the same i.e., reducing the response time. But how it works?

In simple words, multi-threading divides a big, complex task into smaller, manageable ones and processes them using different threads. The trick works wonderfully in every scenario, as no matter the task complexity, dividing it into bite-sized ones helps each thread pull its weight and contribute to solving the issue.

2) Parallel Programming

One of the most popular features of multi-threading is its ability to run tasks in parallel. Parallel programming, in itself, is as revolutionary as programming as it powers a developer to work super efficiently. For instance, with multi-threads in Java, you can draw and process an event simultaneously.

3) Serve Multiple Clients

Another common reason developers think not switching to multi-threading is a sin is that it enables you to work with multiple clients simultaneously and drastically improves client-server application performance.

A single-threaded application only allows one client access to the server, while multi-threaded ones let multiple clients access the server simultaneously. This feature is a game-changer, as it means less wait for clients & a better experience.

How to Create a Thread in Java?

Commonly, there are two approaches to creating threads in Java; by extending the thread class or by implementing the runnable interface.

1) By Extending the Thread Class

public class MyThread extends Thread {


    public void run() {

        // Code to be executed in the thread



Once done, you can start the threading by creating an instance of the custom class and calling the start() method.

MyThread thread = new MyThread();


2) Implementing the Runnable Interface

public class MyRunnable implements Runnable {


    public void run() {

        // Code to be executed in the thread



Like above, an instance of the runnable class is also passed to the thread similarly.

MyRunnable runnable = new MyRunnable();

Thread thread = new Thread(runnable);


Wrap Up

So, now you know what is thread in Java, why to use multi-threading, and how to create it. Remember, starting the thread doesn’t imply immediate execution, as it is the scheduler, and it allocates the CPU time orderly.

Also Read: Multithreading In Java With Examples

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