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Revision as of 12:44, 9 November 2013 by Cubbi (Talk | contribs)

Defined in header <future>
template< class Function, class... Args>

std::future<typename std::result_of<Function(Args...)>::type>

    async( Function&& f, Args&&... args );
(1) (since C++11)
template< class Function, class... Args >

std::future<typename std::result_of<Function(Args...)>::type>

    async( std::launch policy, Function&& f, Args&&... args );
(2) (since C++11)

The template function async runs the function f asynchronously (potentially in a separate thread) and returns a std::future that will eventually hold the result of that function call.

1) Behaves the same as async(std::launch::async | std::launch::deferred, f, args...). In other words, f may be executed in another thread or it may be run synchronously when the resulting std::future is queried for a value.

2) Calls a function f with arguments args according to a specific launch policy policy:

  • If the async flag is set (i.e. policy & std::launch::async != 0), then async executes the function f on a separate thread of execution as if spawned by std::thread(f, args...), except that if the function f returns a value or throws an exception, it is stored in the shared state accessible through the std::future that async returns to the caller.
  • If the deferred flag is set (i.e. policy & std::launch::deferred != 0), then async converts args... the same way as by std::thread constructor, but does not spawn a new thread of execution. Instead, lazy evaluation is performed: the first call to a non-timed wait function on the std::future that async returned to the caller will cause f(args...) to be executed in the current thread. All further accesses to the same std::future will return the result immediately.
  • If both the std::launch::async and std::launch::deferred flags are set in policy, it is up to the implementation whether to perform asynchronous execution or lazy evaluation.
  • (C++14) If neither std::launch::async nor std::launch::deferred, nor any implementation-defined policy flag is set in policy, the behavior is undefined.



f - function or function object to call
args... - parameters to pass to f
policy - bitmask value, where individual bits control the allowed methods of execution
Bit Explanation
std::launch::async enable asynchronous evaluation
std::launch::deferred enable lazy evaluation

Return value

std::future referring to the return value of the function.


Throws std::system_error with error condition std::errc::resource_unavailable_try_again if the launch policy is std::launch::async and the implementation is unable to start a new thread.


The implementation may extend the behavior of the first overload of std::async by enabling additional (implementation-defined) bits in the default launch policy.

One drawback with the current definition of std::async is that the associated state of an operation launched by std::async can cause the returned std::future's destructor to block until the operation is complete. This can limit composability and result in code that appears to run in parallel but in reality runs sequentially. For example:

    std::async(std::launch::async, []{ f(); });
    std::async(std::launch::async, []{ g(); });  // does not run until f() completes

In the above code, f() and g() run sequentially because the destruction of the returned future blocks until each operation has finished.


#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>
#include <numeric>
#include <future>
template <typename RAIter>
int parallel_sum(RAIter beg, RAIter end)
    typename RAIter::difference_type len = end-beg;
    if(len < 1000)
        return std::accumulate(beg, end, 0);
    RAIter mid = beg + len/2;
    auto handle = std::async(std::launch::async,
                              parallel_sum<RAIter>, mid, end);
    int sum = parallel_sum(beg, mid);
    return sum + handle.get();
int main()
    std::vector<int> v(10000, 1);
    std::cout << "The sum is " << parallel_sum(v.begin(), v.end()) << '\n';


The sum is 10000