# Java Concurrent Recursive API Access

I don't get to write multithreaded applications very often, so be gentle with my threads :-)

I have an API input which contains a "score" and then a bunch of child nodes which also have scores, and perhaps child nodes of their own. I need to quickly sum up the total score of the entire tree.

I've elected a newWorkStealingPool as I have read that this is a good implementation for applications where workers may spawn other workers.

My handler is awfully static. I don't always work in Java, but this felt like the appropriate solution. Correct if wrong? :-)

I think I've made thread safe the methods that could be troublesome. I'd obviously like to remove the synchronization from methods that maybe don't need it.

I'm very concerned about how I monitor the running threads to decide when my work is done. I think there is a race condition here that I am having trouble understanding, even if for now, this project works.

Don't worry too much about my throwing an Exception, please :-). It's just for now so as to not clutter up the other code.

Thank you!!

Oh! Java 8 is pretty new to me, too. I only just considered where I could use some new functionality.

Runner

import java.net.URL;

public class Runner {

public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
try{
}catch(java.net.MalformedURLException e){
System.out.println("Malformed URL Exception: " + e.getMessage());
}
System.out.println(Double.toString(NodeHandler.getTotal()));
}

}


Node Handler

import java.util.concurrent.ExecutorService;
import java.util.concurrent.Executors;
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit;

public class NodeHandler {
private static int runningThreads = 0;
private static double rewardsTotal = 0;
private static ExecutorService es = Executors.newWorkStealingPool();

public static synchronized void addNode(Node node) {
es.execute(node);
}

public static synchronized void incrementThreadCount() {
}

public static synchronized void decrementThreadCount() {
}

public static synchronized void updateScore(double score){
scoreTotal += score;
}

}

public static double getTotal(){
try {
TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(1);
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
e.printStackTrace();
}
}
return scoreTotal;
}

}


Node

import java.util.*;
import java.net.URL;

import org.json.simple.JSONArray;
import org.json.simple.JSONObject;
import org.json.simple.parser.JSONParser;

public class Node implements Runnable{

private URL url;
private StringBuilder rawJson = new StringBuilder();

Node(URL url){
this.url = url;
}

private void processNode() throws Exception{
Scanner sc = new Scanner(url.openStream());

while (sc.hasNext()) {
rawJson.append(sc.nextLine());
}
sc.close();

JSONParser jParser = new JSONParser();
JSONObject jObj = (JSONObject) jParser.parse(rawJson.toString());
JSONArray children = (JSONArray) jObj.get("children");

if (children != null && children.size() > 0) {
for (Object o : children) {
URL url = new URL(o.toString());
}
}
}
@Override
public void run(){
try {
processNode();
}catch(Exception e){
e.printStackTrace();
}
}
}


A few things that I noticed, not necessarily in order:

• The globally locked and secured total is an unnecessary bottleneck. The aggregation you're performing is really well-suited for subresult aggregation. Instead of updateScore which can only ever be entered by one thread, you should have a running aggregate as you traverse the node hierarchy.

• Node should not know about NodeHandler. You're tightly coupling these two together through a static method, which makes your code hard to test. Instead of a static class, use dependency-injection

• Your termination condition isn't perfectly secure against premature termination. Also the getTotal is basically busy-waiting. You also only ever have multiples of seconds when running this task, which doesn't bode well for smaller node-structures.

• Declaring rawJson as a member-variable is not a good solution. The compiler may or may not notice that it's in fact a local variable and may or may not correctly free the memory you're not using anymore.

• Java EE has a JsonParser implementation since Java 1. That implementation crucially allows directly streaming the JSON access, so long as you're using forward access only. This allows you to keep a minimal memory-footprint. Look into Json.createParser(InputStream)

• Since you're creating tasks from your initial task, the ForkJoinPool and the use of ForkJoinTasks is the "correct" model to use here. With this knowledge we can rewrite your program to be significantly more idiomatic and probably quite a bit faster :) This also allows you to not need to think about the termination condition of your operation.

• do note that because of floating point errors, depending on the order of calculation you may get different results – Vogel612 Aug 3 '18 at 21:10
• This is all great stuff! I wanted to ask for clarification on your initial point about the running aggregate. Would this be like an aggregation thread holding a collection of our scores which we concurrently update as we traverse the nodes? Then when all tasks are finished we can sum the stored scores? And on your last point: It looks like the newWorkStealingPool is backed by a ForkJoinPool. In fact, it's just an abstraction over it. I guess I'm missing what I should change about the implementation on the threadpool here. – charstar Aug 3 '18 at 23:56
• @charstar re 1: I was suggesting to have a "total" inside a Node, which incorporates the total from all it's children + it's own score. That way you don't even need global state and the static total disappears. That even allows you to calculate two of these tree-structures in parallel. The threadpool itself is ... okay. It's a good solution for the abstraction of a Node being a thread. If your node was a ForkJoinTask instead (or even more idiomatic a RecursiveTask), that abstraction falls apart. You won't even need an explicitly declared ForkJoinThreadPool then – Vogel612 Aug 4 '18 at 9:20