Multithreaded code and concurrency

Mincong HUANG edited this page Feb 15, 2017 · 11 revisions

Java code can be difficult to test for thread safety when multithreading.

The article at describes a method of exposing concurrency bugs that adds a new assertion method assertConcurrent.

To use this you pass in a Collection of Runnables that are your arrange\act\assert test on the SUT, they all run at the same time in the assertConcurrent method; the chances of triggering a multithreading code error, and thereby failing some assertion are greatly increased:

The assertConcurrent method from the article is:

public static void assertConcurrent(final String message, final List<? extends Runnable> runnables, final int maxTimeoutSeconds) throws InterruptedException {
    final int numThreads = runnables.size();
    final List<Throwable> exceptions = Collections.synchronizedList(new ArrayList<Throwable>());
    final ExecutorService threadPool = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(numThreads);
    try {
        final CountDownLatch allExecutorThreadsReady = new CountDownLatch(numThreads);
        final CountDownLatch afterInitBlocker = new CountDownLatch(1);
        final CountDownLatch allDone = new CountDownLatch(numThreads);
        for (final Runnable submittedTestRunnable : runnables) {
            threadPool.submit(new Runnable() {
                public void run() {
                    try {
                    } catch (final Throwable e) {
                    } finally {
        // wait until all threads are ready
        assertTrue("Timeout initializing threads! Perform long lasting initializations before passing runnables to assertConcurrent", allExecutorThreadsReady.await(runnables.size() * 10, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS));
        // start all test runners
        assertTrue(message +" timeout! More than" + maxTimeoutSeconds + "seconds", allDone.await(maxTimeoutSeconds, TimeUnit.SECONDS));
    } finally {
    assertTrue(message + "failed with exception(s)" + exceptions, exceptions.isEmpty());

A JUnit extension that generalizes this pattern into a library is ConcurrentUnit.

Another article giving an overview of alternative stragies at might also be useful.

Java Concurrency Bookshelf

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