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Difference Between notify() and notifyAll() in Java

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  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 21 Dec, 2021

The notify() and notifyAll() methods with wait() methods are used for communication between the threads. A thread that goes into waiting for state by calling the wait() method will be in waiting for the state until any other thread calls either notify() or notifyAll() method on the same object. 

notify(): The notify() method is defined in the Object class, which is Java’s top-level class. It’s used to wake up only one thread that’s waiting for an object, and that thread then begins execution. The thread class notify() method is used to wake up a single thread.

notifyAll(): The notifyAll() wakes up all threads that are waiting on this object’s monitor. A thread waits on an object’s monitor by calling one of the wait methods. The awakened threads will not be able to proceed until the current thread relinquishes the lock on this object.

Now the question is both notify() and notifyAll() the method is used to give notification to the waiting thread, then what is the difference between them or where we should use notify() method and where we should go for the notifyAll() method? 

Sr. No.Keynotify()notifyAll() 
1NotificationsIn the case of the multiThreading, notify() method sends the notification to only one thread among the multiple waiting threads which are waiting for the send lock.While notifyAll() methods in the same context send notifications to all waiting threads instead of a single thread.
2Thread identificationsAs in the case of notify() method, the notification is sent to a single thread among the multiple waiting threads, so it is sure that which of those waiting threads is going to receive the lock.On the other hand, notifyAll() sends a notification to all waiting threads. Hence, it is not clear which of the thread is going to receive the lock.
3Risk factorIn the case of notify() method, the risk of thread missing is high as notification is sent only a single thread, and if it misses that, then no other thread would get a notification and hence the lock.While in the case of notifyAll(), it sends a notification to all the waiting threads, and hence if any thread misses the notification, there are other threads to do the job. Hence the risk is less.
4PerformanceMemory and CPU drain is less in notify() method as compared to notifyAll() method as notification is sent to single one thread so performance is better as compared to notifyAll().On the other hand, the cost of no notification is dropped and notification is sent to all waiting threads, the memory and CPU drain is more as compared to notify() and hence performance of notifyAll() is lesser.
5InterchangeableIn the case of the notify() method, only a single thread is in the picture hence no concept of thread Interchangeable is possible.While we should go for notifyAll() if all your waiting threads are interchangeable (the order they wake up doesn’t matter).

Let’s understand how the notify() method behaves:

Java




// Java program to illustrate the
// behaviour of notify() method
class Geek1 extends Thread {
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
            try {
                this.wait();
            }
            catch (InterruptedException e) {
                e.printStackTrace();
            }
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class Geek2 extends Thread {
    Geek1 geeks1;
    
    Geek2(Geek1 geeks1){ 
      this.geeks1 = geeks1; 
    }
    
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this.geeks1)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
  
            try {
                this.geeks1.wait();
            }
            catch (InterruptedException e) {
                e.printStackTrace();
            }
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class Geek3 extends Thread {
    Geek1 geeks1;
    Geek3(Geek1 geeks1) { this.geeks1 = geeks1; }
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this.geeks1)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
            this.geeks1.notify();
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class MainClass {
    public static void main(String[] args)
        throws InterruptedException
    {
  
        Geek1 geeks1 = new Geek1();
        Geek2 geeks2 = new Geek2(geeks1);
        Geek3 geeks3 = new Geek3(geeks1);
        Thread t1 = new Thread(geeks1, "Thread-1");
        Thread t2 = new Thread(geeks2, "Thread-2");
        Thread t3 = new Thread(geeks3, "Thread-3");
        t1.start();
        t2.start();
        Thread.sleep(100);
        t3.start();
    }
}

Output: 

Thread-1...start
Thread-2...starts
Thread-3...starts
Thread-3...notified
Thread-1...notified

Lets understand how notifyAll() method behaves:  

Java




// Java program to illustrate the
// behavior of notifyAll() method
  
class Geek1 extends Thread {
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
            try {
                this.wait();
            }
            catch (InterruptedException e) {
                e.printStackTrace();
            }
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class Geek2 extends Thread {
    Geek1 geeks1;
    
    Geek2(Geek1 geeks1){ 
      this.geeks1 = geeks1; 
    }
    
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this.geeks1)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
  
            try {
                this.geeks1.wait();
            }
            catch (InterruptedException e) {
                e.printStackTrace();
            }
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class Geek3 extends Thread {
    Geek1 geeks1;
    Geek3(Geek1 geeks1) { this.geeks1 = geeks1; }
    public void run()
    {
        synchronized (this.geeks1)
        {
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...starts");
  
            this.geeks1.notifyAll();
            System.out.println(
                Thread.currentThread().getName()
                + "...notified");
        }
    }
}
class MainClass {
    public static void main(String[] args)
        throws InterruptedException
    {
  
        Geek1 geeks1 = new Geek1();
        Geek2 geeks2 = new Geek2(geeks1);
        Geek3 geeks3 = new Geek3(geeks1);
        Thread t1 = new Thread(geeks1, "Thread-1");
        Thread t2 = new Thread(geeks2, "Thread-2");
        Thread t3 = new Thread(geeks3, "Thread-3");
        t1.start();
        t2.start();
        Thread.sleep(100);
        t3.start();
    }
}

Output

Thread-1...starts
Thread-2...starts
Thread-3...starts
Thread-3...notified
Thread-1...notified
Thread-2...notified

When to Use notify() method and notifyAll()?

  • In the case of mutually exclusive locking, only one of the waiting threads can do something useful after being notified (in this case acquire the lock). In such a case, you would rather use notify(). Properly implemented, you could use notifyAll() in this situation as well, but you would unnecessarily wake threads that can’t do anything anyway.
  • In some cases, all waiting threads can take useful action once the wait finishes. An example would be a set of threads waiting for a certain task to finish; once the task has finished, all waiting threads can continue with their business. In such a case you would use notifyAll() to wake up all waiting threads at the same time.

Applications of notify() and notifyAll()

  • A maintenance operation on a shared resource, where multiple threads are waiting for the operation to complete before accessing the resource; for these, we should go for notifyAll().
  • Let’s say we have a producer thread and a consumer thread. Each “packet” produced by the producer should be consumed by a consumer. The consumer puts something in a queue and then calls notify().
  • We want to have a notification when a lengthy process has finished. You want a beep and a screen update. The process performs notifyAll() to notify both the beeping thread and the screen-update-thread.

This article is contributed by Bishal Kumar Dubey. If you like GeeksforGeeks and would like to contribute, you can also write an article using contribute.geeksforgeeks.org or mail your article to contribute@geeksforgeeks.org. See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.


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