What operations are thread-safe on std::map?
Suppoes I have: stl::map<std::string, Foo> myMap; is the following function thread safe? myMap["xyz"] ? I.e. I want to have this giant read-only map that is shared among many threads; but I don't know if even searching it is thread safe. Thanks! EDIT: Everything is written to once first. Then after that, multiple threads read from it. I'm trying to avoid locks to make this as faast as possible. (yaya possible premature optimization I know)
In theory no STL containers are threadsafe. In practice reading is safe if the container is not being concurrently modified. ie the standard makes no specifications about threads. The next version of the standard will and IIUC it will then guarantee safe readonly behaviour. If you are really concerned, use a sorted array with binary search.
C++11 requires that all member functions declared as const are thread-safe for multiple readers. Calling myMap["xyz"] is not thread-safe, as std::map::operator isn't declared as const. Calling myMap.at("xyz") is thread-safe though, as std::map::at is declared as const.
At least in Microsoft's implementation, reading from containers is thread-safe (reference). However, std::map::operator can modify data and is not declared const. You should instead use std::map::find, which is const, to get a const_iterator and dereference it.
Theoretically, read-only data structures and functions do not require any locks for thread-safety. It is inherently thread-safe. There are no data races on concurrent memory reads. However, you must guarantee safe initializations by only a single thread. As Max S. pointed out, mostly implementation of reading an element in map like myMap["xyz"] would have no write operations. If so, then it is safe. But, once again, you must guarantee there is no thread which modifies the structure except the initialization phase.
STL collections aren't threadsafe, but it's fairly simple to add thread safety to one. Your best bet is create a threadsafe wrapper around the collection in question.
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