Python Tutorial



Python Tutorial

Multithreading in Python


As Python continues its upward trajectory in the tech domain, the knowledge of multithreading is indispensable for professionals eager to extract maximum efficiency from their Python applications. This concept allows professionals to harness the power of concurrent execution, leading to optimized application performance and efficient CPU resource utilization. Aimed at those familiar with Python's basics, this tutorial delves into the intricate details of multithreading in Python.


Multithreading, a facet of multiprocessing, serves as a potent tool to optimize CPU usage. It encompasses the concurrent running of multiple threads, allowing for a judicious resource allocation and an accelerated execution of tasks, primarily in I/O-bound scenarios.

What is a Process in Python?

In Python programming, a process is perceived as a self-sufficient unit of execution. Distinct from threads, processes are quite robust, equipped with their own dedicated memory space, ensuring that the resources they utilize aren't easily tampered with by other processes. This makes processes stable and less prone to interference. When a program is initiated, a process is born, guiding the execution. Each process possesses a unique process ID, distinguishing it from others and affirming its autonomy.

  • Isolation: A standout feature of processes is their operation in isolated memory domains. This isolation ensures there's no shared memory space, upholding the sanctity of data within a process. This isolation becomes imperative in scenarios where safety and data integrity are pivotal. It significantly reduces the risk of unwanted data manipulation, race conditions, or data corruption.

  • Communication: While processes operate independently, they aren't entirely secluded. They engage in dialogs with other processes via IPC (Inter-Process Communication) mechanisms. IPC techniques, like pipes and message queues, provide structured pathways for processes to converse, share data, or synchronize their operations, ensuring that multi-process applications function cohesively.

  • Usage: Processes particularly excel in CPU-bound tasks. In scenarios where the raw computation power of the CPU is paramount, like complex mathematical calculations or data crunching, processes come to the forefront. Due to the absence of the Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) in such tasks, Python's multiprocessing module facilitates true parallelism, harnessing the CPU's full potential.

  • Tools: Python offers the multiprocessing module as a toolbelt to manage and orchestrate processes. This module furnishes developers with various tools to spawn, synchronize, and communicate between processes, streamlining the intricate process-based operations, and making multi-process programming in Python intuitive.

What is Thread in Python?

Python's threading capability is often hailed as a significant boon for optimizing the efficiency of applications. It offers an avenue for concurrent operations, especially in scenarios where parallelization can boost performance without necessitating separate memory spaces as processes do.

In the computing ecosystem, a thread is visualized as a diminutive of a process. It is a lighter execution unit that operates within the confines of a parent process. Multiple threads can coexist within a single process, executing concurrently and enhancing the throughput of applications.

  • Shared Memory: One of the salient features of a threading module in Python is its operation in a shared memory environment. Threads stemming from the same process inhabit this communal memory space, making the interchange of data remarkably swift and straightforward. While a boon for data interchange, this shared ecosystem can also be a bane if not wielded carefully.

  • Threading Module: Python comes armed with a built-in module named threading. This module presents developers with various tools and utilities to efficiently craft, manage, and coordinate threads. With this, implementing multithreading in Python applications becomes a less daunting task, even for those new to the concept.

  • Potential Pitfalls: The allure of shared memory also brings in certain challenges. Threads can simultaneously access and modify data, leading to race conditions. Such scenarios can compromise data integrity and yield unpredictable outcomes. Hence, meticulous planning and synchronization mechanisms are vital to avert these pitfalls.

  • Usage: Where does threading shine the brightest? The answer lies in I/O-bound tasks. In scenarios riddled with frequent input-output operations, like reading/writing files or network operations, threads can execute parallelly without waiting, enhancing responsiveness and efficiency.

Multithreading In Python With Example 

Multithreading is a technique in Python that allows you to execute multiple threads concurrently within a single process. Each thread represents an independent unit of execution that can run in parallel with other threads. Python's threading module is commonly used for implementing multithreading. Here's an example and some explanations:

Here is an example of multithreading in Python:


import threading
import time
# Function to simulate a task
def worker_function(thread_id):
    print(f"Thread {thread_id} started.")
    time.sleep(2)  # Simulate some work
    print(f"Thread {thread_id} finished.")
# Create multiple threads
threads = []
for i in range(3):
    thread = threading.Thread(target=worker_function, args=(i,))
# Start the threads
for thread in threads:
# Wait for all threads to finish
for thread in threads:
print("All threads have finished.")

In this example, three threads are created, each simulating work using the worker_function. The threads execute concurrently, and the main program waits for all threads to finish using the join() method.


We import the threading module to work with threads and the time module to simulate some work. The worker_function is defined to simulate a task that each thread will execute. It takes a thread_id parameter to identify the thread. We create three threads and add them to the threads list. Each thread is assigned the worker_function as its target, and a unique thread_id is passed as an argument.

We start each thread using the start() method. This initiates their execution. To ensure that the main program waits for all threads to finish, we use the join() method for each thread. This blocks the main program until each thread has completed. Finally, we print "All threads have finished" to indicate that all threads have completed their tasks.

Multithreading can be useful for tasks that can be parallelized to improve program performance, such as concurrent data processing, I/O operations, or running multiple tasks simultaneously.

Python ThreadPool

Python's concurrent.futures module provides a ThreadPoolExecutor class that allows you to easily create and manage a pool of threads for concurrent execution of tasks. This is an alternative to the lower-level threading module and provides a higher-level interface for working with threads. Here's an example of using ThreadPoolExecutor:


import concurrent.futures
# Function to simulate a task
def worker_function(thread_id):
    print(f"Thread {thread_id} started.")
    return f"Thread {thread_id} result"
# Create a ThreadPoolExecutor with 3 threads
with concurrent.futures.ThreadPoolExecutor(max_workers=3) as executor:
    # Submit tasks to the executor
    futures = [executor.submit(worker_function, i) for i in range(3)]
    # Retrieve results as they become available
    for future in concurrent.futures.as_completed(futures):
        result = future.result()
print("All threads have finished.")

In this example, the ThreadPoolExecutor efficiently manages a pool of threads, executes tasks concurrently, and returns results as they become available. This approach simplifies the management of threads and is particularly useful for parallelizing tasks in a controlled and scalable way.


We import the concurrent.futures module, which contains the ThreadPoolExecutor class. The worker_function is defined to simulate a task. It takes a thread_id parameter and returns a result. We create a ThreadPoolExecutor with a specified number of maximum workers (in this case, 3). Tasks are submitted to the executor using the executor.submit() method. Each submit call schedules the execution of the worker_function with a specific thread_id.

We collect the resulting futures (representing the asynchronous results of the tasks) in a list called futures. We use concurrent.futures.as_completed(futures) to iterate through the futures as they are completed. The result() method retrieves the result of each future. Finally, we print the results and indicate when all threads have finished.

Benefits of Using Python for Multithreading

Python's support for multithreading offers several perks:

  • Efficiency: At the heart of multithreading's allure is its contribution to resource efficiency. Traditional single-threaded applications often don't utilize the CPU's full capacity, leading to scenarios where the CPU remains idle, especially during I/O operations. With multithreading, other threads can pick up the mantle and execute, ensuring that the CPU's potential is maximally tapped. This results in improved throughput and a reduction in the overall execution time.

  • Concurrent Execution: Imagine a scenario where multiple operations, like data fetching, computation, and user input handling, need to occur. Instead of queuing these tasks sequentially, multithreading allows them to operate concurrently. This concurrent execution ensures that the application remains responsive, delivering a superior user experience.

  • I/O-bound Tasks: I/O-bound operations, such as database queries, file read/write, or network communications, often involve waiting. In single-threaded architectures, this wait can hamper productivity. Enter multithreading, where one thread can wait for I/O operations while others continue their tasks. This parallelism drastically reduces waiting times, making operations seamless and swift.

  • Flexibility: Python's multithreading provides developers with a robust toolset. Programmers can craft their threading model, deciding how many threads to spawn, how to allocate tasks among them, and how to manage their life cycle. This freedom permits the creation of bespoke multithreading models tailored to individual applications' specific needs and challenges.

What is the Purpose of Multithreading in Python?

The judicious deployment of multithreading can make or break application performance.

  • I/O-bound Operations: In reading and writing files, databases, or communicating over a network, the system often has to wait. With multithreading, while one thread is waiting for an I/O operation to complete, other threads can actively perform their tasks, ensuring that the application remains brisk and responsive

  • Concurrent Tasks: Multithreading is a masterstroke for operations that can be executed independently and simultaneously. It ensures that tasks like user input handling, data fetching, and others can happen in tandem, without one having to wait for the completion of the other.


Multithreading has undeniably transformed how developers approach concurrency in their applications. By efficiently leveraging CPU resources and optimizing execution times, multithreading offers a competitive edge in high-performance computing. It's vital, however, to understand its nuances and implement it judiciously. Overuse or misuse can lead to complications such as race conditions or deadlocks.

For professionals eager to elevate their Python skills, mastering multithreading becomes imperative. Moreover, as applications become complex and user demands increase, a deep comprehension of concurrency principles will be a cornerstone of robust software development. For those committed to continuous learning, platforms like upGrad provide courses that delve into advanced topics like these, ensuring professionals stay ahead in their careers.


1. Multithreading vs. multiprocessing in Python?

Multithreading involves multiple threads operating within one process, utilizing shared memory. It's suitable for tasks that require quick context switches. Multiprocessing, however, employs separate processes with individual memory spaces, ensuring true parallelism. This becomes especially vital for CPU-intensive operations where bypassing Python's Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) becomes crucial.

2. Advantages and disadvantages of multithreading in Python?

Multithreading offers numerous advantages such as parallel execution, improved application responsiveness, and efficient CPU and memory utilization. However, it's not without pitfalls. Drawbacks include potential race conditions due to shared memory access and the complexities in synchronization, which can introduce unexpected behaviors

3. What is the Python thread class?

Python's threading module provides a Thread class, used to create and handle threads. By instantiating the Thread class and providing a target function, one can spawn a new thread. The class offers various methods like start(), join(), and is_alive() to manage and monitor thread execution.

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