10 Differences Between hashmap and concurrenthashmap

HashMap vs ConcurrentHashMap: Understanding the Differences


When it comes to storing and retrieving data in Java, the HashMap and ConcurrentHashMap classes are widely used. While they both serve the purpose of mapping keys to values, they differ in their thread-safety, performance, and several other aspects. In this article, we will explore the differences between HashMap and ConcurrentHashMap and understand when to use each of them.

What is HashMap?

HashMap is a class in Java that implements the Map interface and uses a hashtable for storing key-value pairs. It provides constant time complexity for basic operations like adding, retrieving, and removing elements. HashMap uses the equals() and hashCode() methods of keys to determine the position of elements in the underlying hashtable.

Examples of HashMap:

Let’s look at a couple of examples to understand how HashMap works:

HashMap studentMarks = new HashMap<>();
studentMarks.put(“John”, 95);
studentMarks.put(“Amy”, 90);
studentMarks.put(“Robert”, 85);

System.out.println(studentMarks.get(“Amy”)); // Output: 90
System.out.println(studentMarks.containsKey(“John”)); // Output: true

Uses of HashMap:

HashMap is widely used in scenarios where the order of elements does not matter, and concurrent access is not a concern. Some common use cases include caching, indexing, and implementing associative arrays.

What is ConcurrentHashMap?

ConcurrentHashMap is also a class in Java that implements the ConcurrentMap interface and provides thread-safe operations. It is an enhanced version of HashMap that allows multiple threads to access the map concurrently.

Examples of ConcurrentHashMap:

Consider the following example that demonstrates the usage of ConcurrentHashMap:

ConcurrentHashMap concurrentMap = new ConcurrentHashMap<>();
concurrentMap.put(“Apple”, 5);
concurrentMap.put(“Banana”, 10);
concurrentMap.put(“Orange”, 7);

System.out.println(concurrentMap.get(“Apple”)); // Output: 5
System.out.println(concurrentMap.containsKey(“Mango”)); // Output: false

Uses of ConcurrentHashMap:

ConcurrentHashMap is suitable for scenarios where multiple threads access or modify the map simultaneously. It provides thread-safety without locking the entire map, thus improving performance in concurrent environments. It is commonly used in scenarios involving high levels of concurrency, such as parallel processing, multi-threaded applications, and caching in server applications.

Differences between HashMap and ConcurrentHashMap:

Difference Area HashMap ConcurrentHashMap
Thread-safety Not thread-safe Thread-safe
Performance Efficient for single-threaded environments Efficient for multi-threaded environments
Iterators Fail-fast iterators Weakly consistent iterators
Null Values Allows multiple null values Allows a single null value
Null Keys Allows a single null key Does not allow null keys
Concurrent Modification May lead to ConcurrentModificationException No ConcurrentModificationException due to thread-safe nature
Memory Overhead Lower memory overhead Higher memory overhead
Table Segments No segments Partitioned into segments for concurrent access
Locking Strategy No explicit lock is acquired Uses fine-grained locking
Scalability Does not scale well due to a global lock Better scalability due to concurrent access


In summary, HashMap and ConcurrentHashMap are both useful classes for storing key-value pairs, but they differ in terms of thread-safety, performance, iterators, handling of null values and keys, memory overhead, concurrency strategy, and scalability. The choice between them depends on the specific use case and the level of concurrency required.

People Also Ask:

  1. Is HashMap thread-safe?
    No, HashMap is not thread-safe. It can cause data inconsistencies if accessed concurrently by multiple threads. For concurrent access, ConcurrentHashMap should be used instead.
  2. Why is ConcurrentHashMap better for concurrency?
    ConcurrentHashMap implements a fine-grained locking strategy, allowing multiple threads to read and write concurrently without any explicit locks. This makes it more efficient in highly concurrent environments.
  3. When should I use HashMap?
    HashMap is suitable for single-threaded environments or scenarios where only one thread is accessing or modifying the map. It provides better performance in such cases.
  4. Can ConcurrentHashMap contain null values?
    ConcurrentHashMap allows a single null value to be stored as a value. However, it does not allow null keys.
  5. What is the difference between ConcurrentHashMap and Hashtable?
    ConcurrentHashMap and Hashtable both provide thread-safe operations. However, ConcurrentHashMap performs better in highly concurrent scenarios due to its advanced locking mechanism. Hashtable uses a global lock, which can reduce scalability.

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