Re: Understanding java.lang.Object.wait()

 Owen Jacobson <>
Tue, 26 Jun 2007 22:21:12 -0700
On Jun 26, 7:01 pm, Aria <> wrote:


I am a bit confused as how wait() actually works. I know the purpose
of this method but what I wanted to know is when a few threads waiting
on a certain object lock and they are signaled via notifyAll(), how
does one of the threads on the waiting list for that object lock gets
the lock and what would happen to the other threads?

The other threads wait for the first thread to release the lock, and
then one of them wins it. This repeats until all of the threads have
been resumed, exactly like any other lock contention scenario.

Now, I understand that notifyAll() ONLY notifies other threads
blocking on this object that the current thread is done with the
object is "ready" to release the lock. That is the actual release of
the lock occurs AFTER the code is out of synchronized block.

Having said that, what exactly happens when the waiting threads
receive such notification? That is:

// Other threads running block
public void run() {
  synchronized (obj) {
    while (some condition not being met) {
      try {
        // (1)
      } catch (InterruptedException ie) { }
      // Some code to process


When "ALL THE THREADS" receive such signal, do they all "get out" of
wait() method and then whoever wins the contention would gets the lock
and the rest are put on the waiting list once they "failed" the

It's a little hard to interpret this, but it sounds right.

When you call notifyAll on an object, every thread that's wait()ing on
that object resumes and tries to reaquire the monitors they held,
blocking if necessary until another thread releases those monitors.
The contract for a monitor is that at most one thread can hold it at a
time; this is enforced by the JVM.

If several threads that held the same monitor are awoken at the same
time, they will run "one at a time" through the parts of their
executions that hold that monitor. None of them will be put back to
waiting on the object.


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