Effective Concurrency: Prefer Using Futures or Callbacks to Communicate Asynchronous Results

This month’s Effective Concurrency column, “Prefer Using Futures or Callbacks to Communicate Asynchronous Results,” is now live on DDJ’s website.

From the article:

This time, we’ll answer the following questions: How should we express return values and out parameters from an asynchronous function, including an active object method? How should we give back multiple partial results, such as partial computations or even just “percent done” progress information? Which mechanisms are suited to callers that want to “pull” results, as opposed to having the callee “push” the results back proactively? And how can “pull” be converted to “push” when we need it? Let’s dig in…

I hope you enjoy it. Finally, here are links to previous Effective Concurrency columns:

The Pillars of Concurrency (Aug 2007)

How Much Scalability Do You Have or Need? (Sep 2007)

Use Critical Sections (Preferably Locks) to Eliminate Races (Oct 2007)

Apply Critical Sections Consistently (Nov 2007)

Avoid Calling Unknown Code While Inside a Critical Section (Dec 2007)

Use Lock Hierarchies to Avoid Deadlock (Jan 2008)

Break Amdahl’s Law! (Feb 2008)

Going Superlinear (Mar 2008)

Super Linearity and the Bigger Machine (Apr 2008)

10 Interrupt Politely (May 2008)

11 Maximize Locality, Minimize Contention (Jun 2008)

12 Choose Concurrency-Friendly Data Structures (Jul 2008)

13 The Many Faces of Deadlock (Aug 2008)

14 Lock-Free Code: A False Sense of Security (Sep 2008)

15 Writing Lock-Free Code: A Corrected Queue (Oct 2008)

16 Writing a Generalized Concurrent Queue (Nov 2008)

17 Understanding Parallel Performance (Dec 2008)

18 Measuring Parallel Performance: Optimizing a Concurrent Queue(Jan 2009)

19 volatile vs. volatile (Feb 2009)

20 Sharing Is the Root of All Contention (Mar 2009)

21 Use Threads Correctly = Isolation + Asynchronous Messages (Apr 2009)

22 Use Thread Pools Correctly: Keep Tasks Short and Nonblocking(Apr 2009)

23 Eliminate False Sharing (May 2009)

24 Break Up and Interleave Work to Keep Threads Responsive (Jun 2009)

25 The Power of “In Progress” (Jul 2009)

26 Design for Manycore Systems (Aug 2009)

27 Avoid Exposing Concurrency – Hide It Inside Synchronous Methods (Oct 2009)

28 Prefer structured lifetimes – local, nested, bounded, deterministic(Nov 2009)

29 Prefer Futures to Baked-In “Async APIs” (Jan 2010)

30 Associate Mutexes with Data to Prevent Races (May 2010)

31 Prefer Using Active Objects Instead of Naked Threads (June 2010)

32 Prefer Using Futures or Callbacks to Communicate Asynchronous Results (August 2010)

2 thoughts on “Effective Concurrency: Prefer Using Futures or Callbacks to Communicate Asynchronous Results

  1. With respect to exception safety it might make sense to provide a generic function that wraps two function objects and a shared_promise in another function object which does something like this in its operator():

    try {
    promise.set_value(fun1());
    } catch (…) {
    promise.set_exception(std::current_exception());
    }
    fun2();

    where fun2 is the notification part that could put a message in the GUI thread’s message queue.

  2. On page 5, inside OnPrintInfo … result.is_ready() is never true because result is only set after the last call to statusCallBack

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