# Concurrency

Just like with memory, Rust is quite good at finding out potential concurrency problems during compilation.

# Multithreading

Rust implements 1:1 threads, so when we create a thread in Rust, an actual thread is also created by the OS. There are crates that implement M:N threading.

# Creating a New Thread

thread::spawn(|| {
  for i in 1..10 {
    println!("hi number {} from the spawned thread!", i);

Threads run closures. If the main() function finishes before threads finish execution, they will be terminated anyway.

# Awaiting Threads

A JoinHandle may be used to wait for a thread to finish its execution. Its is returned by thread::spawn().

fn main() {
  let handle = thread::spawn(|| {
    for i in 1..10 {
        println!("hi number {} from the spawned thread!", i);


The app will finish only when the thread is done.

# Environment Ownership

Sometimes we might want one thread to pass ownership of some value to another thread. We can do that with the move keyword placed before the closure.

fn main() {
  let v = vec![1, 2, 3];

  let handle = thread::spawn(move || {
    println!("Here's a vector: {:?}", v);


# Messaging

Threads can communicate via channels where a transmitter sends messages and receiver receives them.

use std::sync::mpsc;
use std::thread;
use std::time::Duration;

let (tx, rx) = mpsc::channel();  // create transmitter and receiver

thread::spawn(move || {
    let vals = vec![

    for val in vals {
        tx.send(val).unwrap(); // send a message

// recive messages (treats rx as an iterator)
for received in rx {
    println!("Got: {}", received);


mpsc module stands for Multiple Producers, Single Consumer. We coulc clone tx and have another transmitter connected to rx.

Multiple receivers are not allowed in this model.

The send() method takes ownership of the value being sent and transfers ownership to the receiving thread. d


Receiver can use the following way to receive messages:

  • iterator (as shown) - blocking, receives all messages.
  • recv() method - blocking, receives 1 message.
  • try_recv() - non-blocking, receives 0 or 1 message.

# Shared Memory

# Mutex

Data can be guarded by a mutex, which allows access to that data to only one thread at a time.

use std::sync::Mutex;

fn main() {
  let m = Mutex::new(5);

    let mut num = m.lock().unwrap();
    *num = 6;

  println!("m = {:?}", m);

To get access to data protected by a Mutex, we have to call lock() on it. This is a blocking call, execution will continue as soon as either:

  • lock is free
  • other thread that had the lock panics

Smart Pointer

lock() returns a MutexGuard smart pointer.

The lock is released as soon as MutexGuard goes out of scope.

Interior Mutability

Mutex<T> is a bit similar to RefCell<T>. Even though the Mutex instance is defined as immutable, we can change the value inside of it.


Threads using Mutex can suffer from deadlocks!

# Arc

We can't use Rc<T> in multithreaded contexts. Instead, we can use Arc<T>, which is thread safe (and has some performance overhead due to that). We can use Arc to share values between many threads. Example below shares a Mutex:

use std::sync::{Arc, Mutex};
use std::thread;

fn main() {
  let counter = Arc::new(Mutex::new(0));
  let mut handles = vec![];

  for _ in 0..10 {
    let counter = Arc::clone(&counter); // like Rc, Arc can be cloned to copy ownership to the value
    let handle = thread::spawn(move || {
      let mut num = counter.lock().unwrap();

      *num += 1; // we increment in one thread at a time thanks to Mutex

  for handle in handles {

  // counter has value 10

# Traits

There are a few traits that are important for concurrency.

# Send

The Send marker trait indicates that ownership of values of the type implementing Send can be transferred between threads. Most types implement it with some exceptions (like Rc, which is not thread-safe). Any type that contains only Send-marked fields is automatically marked as Send as well.

# Sync

The Sync marker trait indicates that it is safe for the type implementing Sync to be referenced from multiple threads. Similar to Send, types composed entirely of types that are Sync are also Sync.


Manually implementing Send and Sync is unsafe.

Last Updated: 1/15/2023, 6:32:34 PM