Krypto: Node.js, from single-threaded to multi-threaded

A thread is a segment of code for executing a set of instructions in an environment. It is used to run two programs simultaneously on the same network. Multithreading refers to a faster processing speed of operations by a processor (network, environment, etc.). A multithreaded system can thus execute several threads at the same time without losing efficiency. Multithreading used within cryptocurrencies allows for increased transaction speed within blockchains. That said, it’s now possible to use it in Node.js, a runtime environment that is essentially single-threaded. You should know that Node.js allows you to create applications that are easy to use, fast and scalable.

Node.js, to manage asynchronous operations

Node.js is based on the JavaScript (JS) programming language, which is inherently synchronous. Note that with a synchronous language, actions are ordered in time. Such a language makes it possible to develop complex systems equipped with reactivity. Basically, JavaScript was intended to run on web browsers and allow users to interact with web pages. The problem is that the flow of synchronous execution can experience deadlocks if the operations are performed on a single thread. To solve this problemJS should become asynchronousto avoid having to create multiple threads.

Ryan Dahl created Node.js precisely to avoid the use of threads while managing asynchronous operations. According to the Node.js documentation, “wired networking is relatively inefficient and very difficult to use. Also, Node.js users don’t have to worry about blocking the process since there are no locks.“.

That said, despite being single-threaded (single-threaded), Node.js generally allowsperform actions without blocking of the process in question. For this reason, this environment can easily be used to develop scalable systems. Note that the execution flow may be blocked if the synchronous methods in the Node.js standard library are called.

Single board and multiprocessing

Node.js is generally a single-threaded environment, meaning that processes run using a single thread. With this system, the execution of one set of operations at a given time prevents the execution of the other operations. Since this situation is not very convenient, Node.js offers multiprocessing which is different from multithreading.

Multiprocessing involves creating multiple processes to perform operations on a file, for example. This method allows users to perform certain operations in parallel. But creating a process uses a lot of resources and she is slow. Multiprocessing is therefore less practical than multithreading, where the creation of a thread is fast and economical.

The Node.js worker-threads module

Worker threads are programs capable of performing CPU-intensive JavaScript operations. They process transactions without blocking the execution of programs that need to run in parallel. On the other hand, they are not very efficient at doing intensive work.

Note that the worker-threads module is only available from version 10.5.0 of Node.js. Multithreading is implemented in Node.js through the worker-threads module. The Node.js documentation provides detailed information on appropriate code to use the worker-threads module.

You should know that a process can consist of several instructions. With single-threading, each statement after the operation is executed before it is executed, which can block the flow of execution. On the other hand, with multithreading, all the instructions in a process can be executed simultaneously, limiting the risk of blocking.

Basically, the Node.js environment does not support multithreading: multiprocessing is used instead. But thanks to the worker-threads module, it is now possible to use multithreading in Node.js. With multithreading, we witness the simultaneous execution of multiple code segments called threads within a single process. This helps build faster and scalable applications.

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