Future and Callable in Java Tutorial with examples

Explaining Futures and Callable

Java 5 introduced java.util.concurrent.Callable interface in concurrency package that is similar to Runnable interface but it can return any Object and able to throw Exception.

Callable interface use Generic to define the return type of Object. Executors class provide useful methods to execute Callable in a thread pool. Since callable tasks run in parallel, we have to wait for the returned Object. Callable tasks return java.util.concurrent.Future object. Using Future we can find out the status of the Callable task and get the returned Object. It provides get() method that can wait for the Callable to finish and then return the result.

Future provides cancel() method to cancel the associated Callable task. There is an overloaded version of get() method where we can specify the time to wait for the result, it’s useful to avoid current thread getting blocked for longer time. There are isDone() and isCancelled() methods to find out the current status of associated Callable task.

The Callable object uses generics to define the type of object which is returned.

If you submit a Callable object to an Executor the framework returns an object of type java.util.concurrent.Future. This Future object can be used to check the status of a Callable and to retrieve the result from the Callable.

On the Executor you can use the method submit to submit a Callable and to get a future. To retrieve the result of the future use the get() method.

Here is a simple example of Callable task that returns the name of thread executing the task after one second. We are using Executor framework to execute 100 tasks in parallel and use Future to get the result of the submitted tasks.

package com.tutorialsdesk.threads.callable;

import java.util.concurrent.Callable;

public class MyCallable implements Callable<long> {
  public Long call() throws Exception {
    long sum = 0;
    for (long i = 0; i <= 100; i++) {
      sum += i;
    return sum;


package com.tutorialsdesk.threads.callable;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.concurrent.Callable;
import java.util.concurrent.ExecutionException;
import java.util.concurrent.ExecutorService;
import java.util.concurrent.Executors;
import java.util.concurrent.Future;

public class CallableFutures {
  private static final int NTHREDS = 10;

  public static void main(String[] args) {

    ExecutorService executor = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(NTHREDS);
    List<Future<Long>> list = new ArrayList<Future<Long>>();
    for (int i = 0; i < 20000; i++) {
      Callable<Long> worker = new MyCallable();
      Future<Long> submit = executor.submit(worker);
    long sum = 0;
    // now retrieve the result
    for (Future<Long> future : list) {
      try {
        sum += future.get();
      } catch (InterruptedException e) {
      } catch (ExecutionException e) {

NEXT READ Thread Pool Executor in Java.
Future and Callable in Java Tutorial with examples

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Prakash Hari Sharma
I'm a software developer and Java enthusiast. I like clean and modular code, enjoy Agile projects and have a passion for trying out new things. I try to learn and teach every day, and occasionally I'm even able to blog about it. :)