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Posted 15 Mar 2019
Licenced MIT

Simple Thread Pool

, 15 Mar 2019
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Simple thread pool

I know the topic of thread pools has been beaten to death on the internet, nevertheless I wanted to present to you my implementation which uses only standard C++ components. 🙂

I will be using queue and semaphore classes discussed in my earlier posts.

Below, you will find a simple thread pool implementation which can be parametrized by the number of worker threads and the blocking queue depth of work items. Each thread waits on a blocking_queue::pop() until a work item shows up. The threads pick up work items randomly off of the queue, execute them, then go back to blocking_queue::pop(). Destruction and cleanup of threads is done with nullptr sentinel pushed onto the queue. If a sentinel is popped off the queue, the thread will push it back and break out of its work loop. This way, all threads are waited on and allowed to finish all unprocessed work items during destruction of a pool instance.
Moreover, a work item can be any callable entity: lambda, functor, or a function pointer. Work item can accept any number of parameters, thanks to template parameter pack of pool::enqueue_work().


Thank you reddit user sumo952 for bringing to my attention the progschj/ThreadPool. I have updated my implementation to support futures and the ability to retrieve work item’s result.

Usage Example

#include <iostream>
#include <mutex>
#include <cstdlib>
#include "pool.h"
using namespace std;

mutex cout_lock;
#define trace(x) { scoped_lock<mutex> lock(cout_lock); cout << x << endl; }

const int COUNT = thread::hardware_concurrency();
const int WORK = 10'000'000;

int main(int argc, char** argv)
    srand((unsigned int)time(NULL));

    thread_pool pool;

    auto result = pool.enqueue_task([](int i) { return i; }, 0xFF);

    for(int i = 1; i <= COUNT; ++i)
        pool.enqueue_work([](int workerNumber) {
            int workOutput = 0;
            int work = WORK + (rand() % (WORK));
            trace("work item " << workerNumber << " starting " << work << " iterations...");
            for(int w = 0; w < work; ++w)
                workOutput += rand();
            trace("work item " << workerNumber << " finished");
        }, i);

    return 1;

Program output:

work item 1 starting 170521507 iterations…
work item 2 starting 141859716 iterations…
work item 2 finished
work item 3 starting 189442810 iterations…
work item 1 finished
work item 4 starting 125609749 iterations…
work item 4 finished
work item 3 finished
Program ended with exit code: 1


#pragma once

#include <vector>
#include <thread>
#include <memory>
#include <future>
#include <functional>
#include <type_traits>
#include <cassert>
#include "queue.h"

class thread_pool
        unsigned int queueDepth = std::thread::hardware_concurrency(),
        size_t threads = std::thread::hardware_concurrency())
    : m_workQueue(queueDepth)
        assert(queueDepth != 0);
        assert(threads != 0);
        for(size_t i = 0; i < threads; ++i)
            m_threads.emplace_back(std::thread([this]() {
                    auto workItem = m_workQueue.pop();
                    if(workItem == nullptr)

    ~thread_pool() noexcept
        for(auto& thread : m_threads)

    using Proc = std::function<void(void)>;

    template<typename F, typename... Args>
    void enqueue_work(F&& f, Args&&... args) 
        m_workQueue.push([=]() { f(args...); });

    template<typename F, typename... Args>
    auto enqueue_task(F&& f, Args&&... args) -> std::future<typename std::result_of<F(Args...)>::type>
        using return_type = typename std::result_of<F(Args...)>::type;
        auto task = std::make_shared<std::packaged_task<return_type()>>
                  (std::bind(std::forward<F>(f), std::forward<Args>(args)...));
        std::future<return_type> res = task->get_future();
        m_workQueue.push([task](){ (*task)(); });
        return res;

    using ThreadPool = std::vector<std::thread>;
    ThreadPool m_threads;
    blocking_queue<Proc> m_workQueue;


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The MIT License


About the Author

Martin Vorbrodt
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
No Biography provided

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