Thread: Threading problems

  1. #1
    Registered User subdene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Threading problems


    Just wondering if anyone could advise me on this problem I have. I have a main thread which creates an instance of one of my classes, call it class A. The main thread then creates another thread and uses a method from class A as the defined function to be executed on the thread.

    After which, the main thread starts polling for events to be signaled from the second thread (the one from class A). Now when I get an event signaled, this means that there is a data structure ready for me to read from the main thread. The data structure is a public member of class A. The problem I am fearful of, is that the main thread could try reading the data structure and the second thread is also trying to refill the data structure at the same time.

    I could have two versions of the same structure within class a, one public and one private, and the main thread just reads the public one. Nevertheless, the same problem could occur when
    class A tries to do a memcpy from the private to public member of the structure, and my main thread tries to read the public structure whilst the 2nd thread is doing the memcpy.

    When should I use EnterCriticalSection? Should I use it within class a when it is doing the memcpy or should I do it within my main thread when I want to read the data structure.

    Any advise on this would be helpful. Thanks.
    Be a leader and not a follower.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Jul 2004
    The critical section should be as short as possible. So wrapp only the pieces of code in between a critcal section which are manipulating "shared" data

    mfg JJ

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    It all depends on the design. Implement the critical section where it's needed.


  4. #4
    Registered User subdene's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Ok, thanks for the advice. If an error occurs within my worker thread, what should the return value be? Should I return -1 to denote that there was an error for my main thread?

    Be a leader and not a follower.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by subdene
    When should I use EnterCriticalSection? Should I use it within class a when it is doing the memcpy or should I do it within my main thread when I want to read the data structure.

    If you read from a data structure that can be written to by another thread, then you must thread guard it. If you write to a data structure that can be read by a different thread, again you must thread guard it.
    "C++ is like jamming a helicopter inside a Miata and expecting some sort of improvement."
    - Drew Olbrich

  6. #6
    Registered User Codeplug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    I wanted to submit some code to demonstrate a few concepts, including the "on topic" ones.
    For those not familiar with the Win32 API, any unfamiliar functions can be looked up on MSDN (and forgive the Win32 specific code on the c++ board).

    The Op's initial post describes a classic producer/consumer scenario that is typical in a multi-threaded application.
    The following code shows how the std::deque container can be used as the point of access for multiple producer and consumer threads. It also demonstrates simple encapsulation of synchronization objects to make MT programming a little easier.

    I am using a Thread class that I posted previously, but I thought it would be more appropriate since the isn't the Windows board.

    Question comments welcome. Feel free to ask if anything needs elabaration.

    #include <iostream>
    #include <sstream>
    #include <string>
    #include <deque>
    #include <exception>
    using namespace std;
    // code from this thread.
    #include "thread.h"
    #include <windows.h>
    // C++ wrapper object for CRITICAL_SECTION
    class CriticalSection
        CRITICAL_SECTION m_cs;
        CriticalSection() {InitializeCriticalSection(&m_cs);}
        ~CriticalSection() {DeleteCriticalSection(&m_cs);}
        operator CRITICAL_SECTION*() {return &m_cs;}
        void Enter() {EnterCriticalSection(&m_cs);}
        void Leave() {LeaveCriticalSection(&m_cs);}
    // Automatic Enter() of a CriticalSection in the contructor, and Leave() in the 
    // destructor
    class AutoCSLock
        CriticalSection *m_cs;
        explicit AutoCSLock(CriticalSection *cs) : m_cs(cs) {m_cs->Enter();}
        ~AutoCSLock() {m_cs->Leave();}
    // Thread safe queue object for producer consumer threads
    template <class T>
    class MTqueue
        deque<T> m_q;
        CriticalSection m_cs; // for thread safe access to m_q
        HANDLE m_ev; // event to signal consumers to come and get it
        MTqueue() {m_ev = CreateEvent(NULL, TRUE, FALSE, NULL);}
        ~MTqueue() {CloseHandle(m_ev);}
        HANDLE consumer_event() {return m_ev;}
        void en_que(const T &val)
            AutoCSLock lock(&m_cs);
            SetEvent(m_ev); // something to consume
        // this shuold only be called by the owner of consumer_event()
        void de_que(T &val)
            AutoCSLock lock(&m_cs);
            typename deque<T>::size_type sz = m_q.size();
            if (sz == 0)
                cerr << "MTqueue::de_que() on empyt queue!!" << endl;
                throw bad_exception();
            val = m_q.back();
            if (sz == 1)
                ResetEvent(m_ev); // m_q is empty now
    DWORD producer_thread(Thread *t); // implemented below
    int main()
        // a message queue
        MTqueue<string> msg_q; 
        // a thread object to run our producer_thread() function
        Thread t(&producer_thread); 
        cout << "Starting producer thread...\n" << endl;
        // now we can start consuming messages
        int n = 0;
        HANDLE consume_ev = msg_q.consumer_event();
        string msg;
        while (1)
            if (WaitForSingleObject(consume_ev, INFINITE) != WAIT_OBJECT_0)
            cout << msg << endl;
            if (n == 10)
        cout << "\nStopping producer thread" << endl;
        return 0;
    // NOTE: remove the "WINAPI" calling convention from ThreadProc_t typedef used
    //       by the Thread class - it serves no purpose.
    DWORD producer_thread(Thread *t)
        MTqueue<string> *q = (MTqueue<string>*)t->GetThreadData();
        // wait a second on the exit event, then produce something
        int n = 1;
        ostringstream next_msg;
        HANDLE exit_ev = t->GetExitEvent();
        while (1)
            // if this doesn't timeout, then exit
            if (WaitForSingleObject(exit_ev, 1000) != WAIT_TIMEOUT)
            next_msg << "producing message #" << n++;
            next_msg.seekp(0); // seek to beginning of stream
        cout << "Producer thread exiting" << endl;
        return 0;

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