What Does Thread Mean?

A thread is the smallest unit of processing that can be performed in an OS. In most modern operating systems, a thread exists within a process – that is, a single process may contain multiple threads.


Techopedia Explains Thread

You can imagine multitasking as something that allows processes to run concurrently, while multithreading allows sub-processes to run concurrently.

When multiple threads are running concurrently, this is known as multithreading, which is similar to multitasking. Basically, an operating system with multitasking capabilities allows programs (or processes) to run seemingly at the same time. On the other hand, a single program with multithreading capabilities allows individual sub-processes (or threads) to run seemingly at the same time.

One example of multithreading is downloading a video while playing it at the same time. Multithreading is also used extensively in computer-generated animation.

Among the widely-used programming languages that allow developers to work on threads in their program source code are Java, Python and .NET.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.