“A hash table except supporting full concurrency of retrievals and adjustable expected concurrency for updates. This class obeys the same functional specification as Hashtable, and includes versions of methods corresponding to each method of Hashtable. However, even though all operations are thread-safe, retrieval operations do not entail locking, and there is not any support for locking the entire table in a way that prevents all access. This class is fully interoperable with Hashtable in programs that rely on its thread safety but not on its synchronization details.”
ConcurrentHashMap is introduced as an alternative of Hashtable and provided all functions supported by Hashtable with additional feature called “concurrency level”, which allows ConcurrentHashMap to partition Map. ConcurrentHashMap allows multiple readers to read concurrently without any blocking. This is achieved by partitioning Map into different parts based on concurrency level and locking only a portion of Map during updates.
Default concurrency level is 16, and accordingly Map is divided into 16 part and each part is governed with different lock. This means, 16 thread can operate on Map simultaneously, until they are operating on different part of Map. This makes ConcurrentHashMap high performance despite keeping thread-safety intact. Though, it comes with caveat. Since update operations like put(), remove(), putAll() or clear() is not synchronized, concurrent retrieval may not reflect most recent change on Map.
In case of putAll() or clear(), which operates on whole Map, concurrent read may reflect insertion and removal of only some entries. Another important point to remember is iteration over CHM, Iterator returned by keySet of ConcurrentHashMap are weakly consistent and they only reflect state of ConcurrentHashMap and certain point and may not reflect any recent change. Iterator of ConcurrentHashMap’s keySet area also fail-safe and doesn’t throw ConcurrentModificationExceptoin..
Default concurrency level is 16 and can be changed, by providing a number which make sense and work for you while creating ConcurrentHashMap. Since concurrency level is used for internal sizing and indicate number of concurrent update without contention, so, if you just have few writers or thread to update Map keeping it low is much better. ConcurrentHashMap also uses ReentrantLock to internally lock its segments.
Like Hashtable but unlike HashMap, this class does not allow null to be used as a key or value.
Source : Javarevisited