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Difference Between Multithreading and Multiprocessing in Java

To achieve parallelism, Java developers sometimes have to decide between multiprocessing and multithreading. Every one of these approaches has benefits and drawbacks, so understanding how they vary from one another can help we select the optimal approach for your specific need.

Multithreading in Java

The process of dividing a program into several threads so that they may do tasks simultaneously is known as multithreading. Creating and maintaining thread objects in Java is usually accomplished by utilizing the classes found in the Java.lang package. Implementing the Java.lang or using the Thread package.executable interface.

Benefits of Multiple Threading:

  1. Effective Resource Sharing: Data sharing and interthread communication are made possible by the fact that threads operating in the same process share the same memory.
  2. Faster Context Switching: Multithreading is better appropriate for jobs that need frequent thread switching since context switching between threads is usually faster than between processes.
  3. Low Overhead: Compared to processes, creating and managing threads is typically lighter and has less overhead.

Drawbacks of Multithreading

  1. Complex Synchronisation: It might be difficult and error-prone to handle synchronization and avoid race situations.
  2. Lack of Isolation: Since threads share memory, a single bad thread may have an impact on the entire program.
  3. Limited CPU Utilisation: When multitasking on CPU-bound activities, it's possible that many CPU cores won't be completely used.

Multithreading Example


Thread 11 - Count: 1
Thread 10 - Count: 1
Thread 11 - Count: 2
Thread 10 - Count: 2
Thread 11 - Count: 3
Thread 10 - Count: 3


The method of running several processes concurrently, each with its own memory space, is known as multiprocessing. Multiprocessing in Java can be accomplished by the creation of numerous Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) or by using third-party multiprocessing tools, such as the Java ProcessBuilder.

  1. Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP): One processor runs the operating system, while the other processors are used to run user programs.
  2. Asymmetric Multiprocessing: Any available processor can run the operating system, or all processors can run user programs concurrently.

Benefits of Multiple Processing

  1. Memory Isolation: Greater fault tolerance and isolation are provided by each process operating in its memory region. One process crashing doesn't impact other processes.
  2. Optimal CPU Utilisation: Multiprocessing is appropriate for CPU-bound workloads as it effectively uses several CPU cores.
  3. Simplified Synchronisation: By not sharing memory, processes may synchronize more easily and prevent race situations.

Drawbacks of Multiprocessing

  1. Greater Resource Overhead: Compared to threads, processes require more system resources to create and maintain.
  2. Slower Context Switching: Compared to threads, context switching between processes happens more slowly, which might be wasteful for operations involving input/output.
  3. Communication Overhead: For processes to interact, inter-process communication (IPC) protocols are needed, and these might be more complicated.
Aspect Multithreading Multiprocessing
Resource Sharing Threads efficiently share data by sharing memory space. Processes isolate data by having their memory region.
Context Switching quicker context changes while working on the same task. slower transitions between different processes' contexts.
Synchronization Shared memory space causes complex synchronization. Easier synchronization because each process has its memory.
CPU Utilization Perhaps best suited for I/O-bound workloads, numerous CPU cores may not be fully utilized. Effectively employs several CPU cores, appropriate for jobs that are CPU-intensive.
Isolation Absence of memory isolation: An application as a whole may be impacted by a single maladroit thread. High memory isolation, means that if one process crashes, it won't affect the others.
Overhead Less memory use and resource overhead. Higher memory use and resource overhead.
Communication Shared memory, complicated synchronization, and direct method calls. Mechanisms for interprocess communication (IPC) are necessary.


In conclusion, the needs of your program will determine which Java multithreading or multiprocessing method to choose. While multiprocessing is a preferable option for jobs that are CPU-bound or require strong memory separation, multithreading is appropriate for processes that require effective resource sharing and little context-switching costs. To select the best decision, carefully analyze the unique requirements of application.

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