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How to: Create a Task Scheduler That Limits the Degree of Concurrency

In rare scenarios, you might be able to achieve a performance speedup by creating a custom task scheduler that is derived from the System.Threading.Tasks.TaskScheduler class. You can then specify this scheduler in a For method or ForEach() method by using the System.Threading.Tasks.ParallelOptions enumeration. When you use Task objects directly, you can specify the custom scheduler by using the TaskFactory constructor that takes a TaskScheduler as an input parameter, or by some other means such as StartNew().

You can also use a custom scheduler to achieve functionality that the default scheduler does not provide, such as strict first-in, first-out (FIFO) execution order. The following example demonstrates how to create a custom task scheduler. This scheduler lets you specify the degree of concurrency.

The following example is taken from the Parallel Extensions Samples on the MSDN Code Gallery Web site.


namespace System.Threading.Tasks.Schedulers
{

    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Threading;

    class Program
    {
        static void Main()
        {
            LimitedConcurrencyLevelTaskScheduler lcts = new LimitedConcurrencyLevelTaskScheduler(1);
            TaskFactory factory = new TaskFactory(lcts);

            factory.StartNew(()=> 
                {
                    for (int i = 0; i < 500; i++)
                    {
                        Console.Write("{0} on thread {1}", i, Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);
                    }
                }
            );

            Console.ReadKey();
        }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Provides a task scheduler that ensures a maximum concurrency level while
    /// running on top of the ThreadPool.
    /// </summary>
    public class LimitedConcurrencyLevelTaskScheduler : TaskScheduler
    {
        /// <summary>Whether the current thread is processing work items.</summary>
        [ThreadStatic]
        private static bool _currentThreadIsProcessingItems;
        /// <summary>The list of tasks to be executed.</summary>
        private readonly LinkedList<Task> _tasks = new LinkedList<Task>(); // protected by lock(_tasks)
        /// <summary>The maximum concurrency level allowed by this scheduler.</summary>
        private readonly int _maxDegreeOfParallelism;
        /// <summary>Whether the scheduler is currently processing work items.</summary>
        private int _delegatesQueuedOrRunning = 0; // protected by lock(_tasks)

        /// <summary>
        /// Initializes an instance of the LimitedConcurrencyLevelTaskScheduler class with the
        /// specified degree of parallelism.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="maxDegreeOfParallelism">The maximum degree of parallelism provided by this scheduler.</param>
        public LimitedConcurrencyLevelTaskScheduler(int maxDegreeOfParallelism)
        {
            if (maxDegreeOfParallelism < 1) throw new ArgumentOutOfRangeException("maxDegreeOfParallelism");
            _maxDegreeOfParallelism = maxDegreeOfParallelism;
        }

        /// <summary>Queues a task to the scheduler.</summary>
        /// <param name="task">The task to be queued.</param>
        protected sealed override void QueueTask(Task task)
        {
            // Add the task to the list of tasks to be processed.  If there aren't enough
            // delegates currently queued or running to process tasks, schedule another.
            lock (_tasks)
            {
                _tasks.AddLast(task);
                if (_delegatesQueuedOrRunning < _maxDegreeOfParallelism)
                {
                    ++_delegatesQueuedOrRunning;
                    NotifyThreadPoolOfPendingWork();
                }
            }
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Informs the ThreadPool that there's work to be executed for this scheduler.
        /// </summary>
        private void NotifyThreadPoolOfPendingWork()
        {
            ThreadPool.UnsafeQueueUserWorkItem(_ =>
            {
                // Note that the current thread is now processing work items.
                // This is necessary to enable inlining of tasks into this thread.
                _currentThreadIsProcessingItems = true;
                try
                {
                    // Process all available items in the queue.
                    while (true)
                    {
                        Task item;
                        lock (_tasks)
                        {
                            // When there are no more items to be processed,
                            // note that we're done processing, and get out.
                            if (_tasks.Count == 0)
                            {
                                --_delegatesQueuedOrRunning;
                                break;
                            }

                            // Get the next item from the queue
                            item = _tasks.First.Value;
                            _tasks.RemoveFirst();
                        }

                        // Execute the task we pulled out of the queue
                        base.TryExecuteTask(item);
                    }
                }
                // We're done processing items on the current thread
                finally { _currentThreadIsProcessingItems = false; }
            }, null);
        }

        /// <summary>Attempts to execute the specified task on the current thread.</summary>
        /// <param name="task">The task to be executed.</param>
        /// <param name="taskWasPreviouslyQueued"></param>
        /// <returns>Whether the task could be executed on the current thread.</returns>
        protected sealed override bool TryExecuteTaskInline(Task task, bool taskWasPreviouslyQueued)
        {
            // If this thread isn't already processing a task, we don't support inlining
            if (!_currentThreadIsProcessingItems) return false;

            // If the task was previously queued, remove it from the queue
            if (taskWasPreviouslyQueued) TryDequeue(task);

            // Try to run the task.
            return base.TryExecuteTask(task);
        }

        /// <summary>Attempts to remove a previously scheduled task from the scheduler.</summary>
        /// <param name="task">The task to be removed.</param>
        /// <returns>Whether the task could be found and removed.</returns>
        protected sealed override bool TryDequeue(Task task)
        {
            lock (_tasks) return _tasks.Remove(task);
        }

        /// <summary>Gets the maximum concurrency level supported by this scheduler.</summary>
        public sealed override int MaximumConcurrencyLevel { get { return _maxDegreeOfParallelism; } }

        /// <summary>Gets an enumerable of the tasks currently scheduled on this scheduler.</summary>
        /// <returns>An enumerable of the tasks currently scheduled.</returns>
        protected sealed override IEnumerable<Task> GetScheduledTasks()
        {
            bool lockTaken = false;
            try
            {
                Monitor.TryEnter(_tasks, ref lockTaken);
                if (lockTaken) return _tasks.ToArray();
                else throw new NotSupportedException();
            }
            finally
            {
                if (lockTaken) Monitor.Exit(_tasks);
            }
        }
    }
}


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