Glossary Entry: Thread (programming)

Quick Definition

All programs are lists of instructions. When a program runs, the computer walks through the instructions, one by one. However, sometimes a group of instructions needs to run on its own alongside other code. This is done by putting these instructions into a "program within the program" called a Thread. When the code in the thread completes, the thread naturally exits. The main program can be designed to idle while it waits for the thread to finish running or even terminate the thread early if some condition is met.

Threads are often used to have a program do lengthy tasks (like loading resources or complex computation) while displaying a waiting screen or progress bar.

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