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In computer programming, an application program runs in a certain process of the CPU. Every statement that is then executed within the program is actually being executed in that process. In essence, when a statement is being executed, the CPU focuses all its attention on that particular statement and for the tiniest fraction of a second puts everything else on hold. After executing that statement, the CPU executes the next statement and so forth.

But consider for a moment that the execution of a particular statement is expected to take a considerable amount of time. You do not want to keep the CPU on halt until the statement gets executed and done with; you would want the CPU to continue with some other application process and resume the current application as smoothly as possible after its statement is executed. It can only be possible if you can run several processes simultaneously, such that when one process is executing a statement that is expected to take some time, another process in the queue would continue doing other things and so on. Such a principle of programming is called concurrent programming.

Throughout this chapter, we will be taking a look at concurrent programming constructs present in the Java programming language.