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Thread pool for C++11


This header-only C++11 package provides mt::thread_pool which allows to assign tasks to a fixed number of threads:

mt::thread_pool tpool(2); // thread pool with 2 threads
auto res1 = tpool.submit([]() { return 8; });
auto res2 = tpool.submit([](int val) { return 2 * val; }, 11);
auto res3 = tpool.submit([](int val1, int val2) { return val1 * val2; }, 3, 4);
int answer = res1.get() + res2.get() + res3.get();

The submit method accepts a function object and its parameters, if any, which are added to an internal queue of tasks. Each thread of the pool continuously fetches a task from the queue and executes it. A thread pool allows to avoid the repeated construction and destruction of threads for small tasks. It is ideally suited for a master/worker pattern where the master submits tasks and where the threads of the pool represent the workers.

The return value of submit is a std::future object that delivers either the return value of the submitted task or an exception if one was thrown.

Other patterns like divide and conquer are supported as well where each task is free to submit more tasks to the pool. However, tasks shall never wait for tasks to complete they have spawned themselves.


A synchronization is possible by the returned std::future objects in regard to individual tasks. The join method permits to synchronize with the termination of the entire thread pool.

After join has been invoked, the thread pool continues as before. Only if the queue becomes empty and all threads are idling, the pool is shut down. This behaviour makes sure that even after join all tasks are free to submit new tasks to the pool without having the pool prematurely downsized to fewer threads.

It is also possible to shutdown the thread pool more urgently using the terminate method. Then all non-idling threads will just complete their current tasks. If any tasks are left in the queue, their promises will be broken, i.e. the get method of the corresponding std::future objects will deliver the exception std::future_error where the code method returns std::future_errc::broken_promise.

The destructor of a thread pool invokes the join method.


This package is available under the terms of the MIT License.


To use mt::thread_pool, you will need just to drop thread_pool.hpp within your project and #include it.

The source file test_suite.cpp is an associated test suite and the Makefile helps to compile it.


This is not the first attempt to provide a thread pool for C++11.

  • Jakob Progsch offers a similar header-only thread pool which, however, stops threads of its pool too early when it is still theoretically possible that running threads enqueue new tasks.

  • Vitaliy Vitsentiy has developed two header-only variants, one of them based on standard C++11, the other one using a lock-free queue from the Boost library. They offer methods to resize the thread pool, to clear the queue, and to access individual threads out of the pool. The stop method comes with two variants, one of them implies a terminate as above but threads stop regardless if other threads could still possibly enqueue new tasks.


Thread pool for C++11







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