What are the differences between processes and threads?

What are the differences between processes and threads?

Asked on November 13, 2018 in Java.
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    Each process provides the resources needed to execute a program. A process has a virtual address space, executable code, open handles to system objects, a security context, a unique process identifier, environment variables, a priority class, minimum and maximum working set sizes, and at least one thread of execution. Each process is started with a single thread, often called the primary thread, but can create additional threads from any of its threads.

    A thread is an entity within a process that can be scheduled for execution. All threads of a process share its virtual address space and system resources. In addition, each thread maintains exception handlers, a scheduling priority, thread local storage, a unique thread identifier, and a set of structures the system will use to save the thread context until it is scheduled. The thread context includes the thread’s set of machine registers, the kernel stack, a thread environment block, and a user stack in the address space of the thread’s proc

    Answered on January 18, 2019.
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    The process is the execution of a program and performs the relevant actions specified in a program, or it is an execution unit where a program runs. The operating system creates, schedules and terminates the processes for the use of the CPU. The other processes created by the main process are known as child process.

    A process operations are controlled with the help of PCB(Process control Block) can be considered as the brain of the process, which contains all the crucial information regarding to a process such as a process id, priority, state, PWS and contents CPU register.

    PCB is also a kernel-based data structure which uses the three kinds of functions which are scheduling, dispatching and context save.

    • Scheduling – It is a method of selecting the sequence of the process in simple words chooses the process which has to be executed first in the CPU.
    • Dispatching – It sets up an environment for the process to be executed.
    • Context save – This function saves the information regarding to a process when it gets resumed or blocked.

    There are certain states included in a process lifecycle such as ready, running, blocked and terminated. Process States are used for keeping the track of the process activity at an instant.

    From the programmer’s point of view, processes are the medium to achieve the concurrent execution of a program. The chief process of a concurrent program creates a child process. The main process and child process need to interact with each to achieve a common goal.

    Interleaving operations of processes enhance the computation speed when i/o operation in one process overlaps with a computational activity in another process.

    Properties of a Process:

    • Creation of each process includes system calls for each process separately.
    • A process is an isolated execution entity and does not share data and information.
    • Processes use IPC (Inter-process communication) mechanism for communication which significantly increases the number of system calls.
    • Process management consumes more system calls.
    • Each process has its own stack and heap memory, instruction, data and memory map.


    The thread is a program execution that uses process resources for accomplishing the task. All threads within a single program are logically contained within a process. The kernel allocates a stack and a thread control block (TCB) to each thread. The operating system saves only the stack pointer and CPU state at the time of switching between the threads of the same process.

    Threads are implemented in three different ways; these are kernel-level threads, user-level threads, hybrid threads. Threads can have three states running, ready and blocked; it only includes computational state not resource allocation and communication state which reduces the switching overhead. It enhances the concurrency (parallelism) hence speed also increases.

    Multithreading also comes with demerits, Multiple threads doesn’t create complexity, but the interaction between them does.

    A thread must have priority property when there are multiple threads are active. The time it gets for execution respective to other active threads in the same process is specified by the priority of the thread.

    Properties of a Thread:

    • Only one system call can create more than one thread (Lightweight process).
    • Threads share data and information.
    • Threads shares instruction, global and heap regions but has its own individual stack and registers.
    • Thread management consumes no or fewer system calls as the communication between threads can be achieved using shared memory.
    • The isolation property of the process increases its overhead in terms of resource consumption.
    Answered on January 18, 2019.
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