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From Oliver Schoett <>
Subject Re: jvm cowardly refuses to print a thread dump
Date Fri, 05 Dec 2008 11:37:31 GMT
Leon Rosenberg wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 9:50 AM, Oliver Schoett
> <>  wrote:
>> Martin Gainty wrote:
>>> so the solution is put all updates/inserts to the arraylist into a
>>> synchronized method?
>> You must synchronize all read and write methods, because nothing may run in
>> parallel with a write method, and so read methods must be prevented from
>> executing if a write method runs already.
>> The only exception is if you can ensure that the ArrayList is read-only at
>> some point in your program (e. g., after a setup phase).
>> Arguing that the size() function cannot loop does not help, because the size
>> function could be called internally in an infinite loop (this would be
>> visible in the call stack).
> Oliver,
> I'm very sorry but i really don't see your point.
> The only possible need to synchronize access to ArrayList.size is when
> you a) access the list from different threads and b) need the result
> to be exact. Neither was the fact in my original post, in fact, as we
> already resolved it, the vm was getting out of old gen space and
> afterwards just behaving weird.

Three points:

(1) In the absence of call stack information, we do not know whether the 
size() calls showing up in the thread dumps come from the application or 
are internal calls from some other ArrayList function that may be in an 
infinite loop.

(2) That size() cannot loop may be a property of the current 
implementation; it is not guaranteed by the API.

(3) In general, when you query the size, you then want to do something 
according to the value you got. Unless there is a synchronizaton block 
around the size call and the subsequent action that guarantees that 
there are no intervening changes to the ArrayList, the size call is 
useless, as the ArrayList may change arbitrarily between the size call 
and the action.  Thus in general, even "harmless" query functions will 
appear inside synchronized sections together with the actions that use 
the result value. (The only exception I see is where the result value is 
just used for information and does not control any action).


Oliver Schoett

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