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Playing with threads and Python

Today I want to play a little bit with Python and threads. This kind of post are one kind of cheat sheet that I like to publish, basically to remember how do do things.

I don’t like to use threads. They are very powerful but, as uncle Ben said: Great power comes great responsibility. I prefer decouple process with queues instead using threads, but sometimes I need to use them. Let’s start

First I will build a simple script without threads. This script will append three numbers (1, 2 and 3) to a list and it will sum them. The function that append numbers to the list sleeps a number of seconds equals to the number that we’re appending.

import time

start_time = time.time()

total = []


def sleeper(seconds):
    time.sleep(seconds)
    total.append(seconds)


for s in (1, 2, 3):
    sleeper(s)

end_time = time.time()

total_time = end_time - start_time

print("Total time: {:.3} seconds. Sum: {}".format(total_time, sum(total)))

The the outcome of the script is obviously 6 (1 + 2 + 3) and as we’re sleeping the script a number of seconds equals to the the number that we’re appending our script, it takes 6 seconds to finish.

Now we’re going to use a threading version of the script. We’re going to do the same, but we’re going to use one thread for each append (with the same sleep function)

import time
from queue import Queue
import threading

start_time = time.time()

queue = Queue()


def sleeper(seconds):
    time.sleep(seconds)
    queue.put(seconds)


threads = []
for s in (1, 2, 3):
    t = threading.Thread(target=sleeper, args=(s,))
    threads.append(t)
    t.start()

for one_thread in threads:
    one_thread.join()

total = 0
while not queue.empty():
    total = total + queue.get()

end_time = time.time()

total_time = end_time - start_time
print("Total time: {:.3} seconds. Sum: {}".format(total_time, total))

The outcome of our script is 6 again, but now it takes 3 seconds (the highest sleep).

Source code in my github

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