30 Thread support library [thread]

30.6 Futures [futures]

30.6.8 Function template async [futures.async]

The function template async provides a mechanism to launch a function potentially in a new thread and provides the result of the function in a future object with which it shares a shared state.

template <class F, class... Args> future<typename result_of<F(Args...)>::type> async(F&& f, Args&&... args); template <class F, class... Args> future<typename result_of<F(Args...)>::type> async(launch policy, F&& f, Args&&... args);

Requires: F and each Ti in Args shall satisfy the MoveConstructible requirements. INVOKE(DECAY_COPY(std::forward<F>(f)), DECAY_COPY(std::forward<Args>(args))...) ([func.require], [thread.thread.constr]) shall be a valid expression.

Effects: The first function behaves the same as a call to the second function with a policy argument of launch::async | launch::deferred and the same arguments for F and Args. The second function creates a shared state that is associated with the returned future object. The further behavior of the second function depends on the policy argument as follows (if more than one of these conditions applies, the implementation may choose any of the corresponding policies):

  • if policy & launch::async is non-zero — calls INVOKE(DECAY_COPY(std::forward<F>(f)),
    DECAY_COPY(std::forward<Args>(args))...) ([func.require], [thread.thread.constr]) as if in a new thread of execution represented by a thread object with the calls to DECAY_COPY() being evaluated in the thread that called async. Any return value is stored as the result in the shared state. Any exception propagated from the execution of INVOKE(DECAY_COPY(std::forward<F>(f)), DECAY_COPY(std::forward<Args>(args))...) is stored as the exceptional result in the shared state. The thread object is stored in the shared state and affects the behavior of any asynchronous return objects that reference that state.

  • if policy & launch::deferred is non-zero — Stores DECAY_COPY(std::forward<F>(f)) and
    DECAY_COPY(std::forward<Args>(args))... in the shared state. These copies of f and args constitute a deferred function. Invocation of the deferred function evaluates INVOKE(g, xyz) where g is the stored value of DECAY_COPY(std::forward<F>(f)) and xyz is the stored copy of DECAY_COPY(std::forward<Args>(args)).... The shared state is not made ready until the function has completed. The first call to a non-timed waiting function ([futures.state]) on an asynchronous return object referring to this shared state shall invoke the deferred function in the thread that called the waiting function. Once evaluation of INVOKE(g, xyz) begins, the function is no longer considered deferred. [ Note: If this policy is specified together with other policies, such as when using a policy value of launch::async | launch::deferred, implementations should defer invocation or the selection of the policy when no more concurrency can be effectively exploited.  — end note ]

Returns: An object of type future<typename result_of<F(Args...)>::type> that refers to the shared state created by this call to async.

Synchronization: Regardless of the provided policy argument,

  • the invocation of async synchronizes with ([intro.multithread]) the invocation of f. [ Note: This statement applies even when the corresponding future object is moved to another thread.  — end note ]; and

  • the completion of the function f is sequenced before ([intro.multithread]) the shared state is made ready. [ Note: f might not be called at all, so its completion might never happen.  — end note ]

If the implementation chooses the launch::async policy,

  • a call to a waiting function on an asynchronous return object that shares the shared state created by this async call shall block until the associated thread has completed, as if joined ([thread.thread.member]);

  • the associated thread completion synchronizes with ([intro.multithread]) the return from the first function that successfully detects the ready status of the shared state or with the return from the last function that releases the shared state, whichever happens first.

Throws: system_error if policy is launch::async and the implementation is unable to start a new thread.

Error conditions:

  • resource_unavailable_try_again — if policy is launch::async and the system is unable to start a new thread.

Remarks: The first signature shall not participate in overload resolution if decay<F>::type is std::launch.


int work1(int value);
int work2(int value);
int work(int value) {
  auto handle = std::async([=]{ return work2(value); });
  int tmp = work1(value);
  return tmp + handle.get();    // #1

Note: Line #1 might not result in concurrency because the async call uses the default policy, which may use launch::deferred, in which case the lambda might not be invoked until the get() call; in that case, work1 and work2 are called on the same thread and there is no concurrency.  — end note ]  — end example ]