In the java.util.concurrent package, there exist several collection classes which aid the development of thread safe code. Below is a brief overview of the five most useful classes and a comparison of them with the some collection that exist in the java.util package.
java.util.HashMap is a collection which holds key value pairs but it is not synchronised. If multiple threads are accessing such a collection, the keys and values being put into the collection may not be visible to those threads calling get. A solution would be to create a synchronised version by calling the static method Collections.synchronizedMap() but this would 'lock' all operations on the Map.
Another solution would be to use ConcurrentHashMap<K,V>. The idea behind this class is that only the bucket that holds the data being accessed is 'locked'. This allows (more often than not) the get operation to work without blocking. Note that using an iterator obtained from the ConcurrentHashMap will not reflect map modifications since getting the iterator. Therefore the iterator will not throw ConcurrentModificationException.
java.util.concurrent.ConcurrentSkipListMap offers similar functionality to the above class but it maintains a sorted order (either the natural order or the order based on using a Comparator.) It also provides methods like ceilingKey, lowerEntry and tailMap. Because of the ordering, insertion can be slower than that of a ConcurrentHashMap but iterating over the collection would be faster.
Similar to the above but is a NavigableSet.
java.util.ArrayList is a collection which holds a resizable list of entries but it is not synchronised. As with ConcurrentHashMap, a solution would be to create a synchronised version by calling the static method Collections.synchronizedList() but this would 'lock' all operations on the List. Another solution would be to use CopyOnWriteArrayList<E> and this is best suited to lists where reads are frequent and writes are infrequent. It works by making a change to a copy of the list and then replacing the existing list with the modified copy..
Similar to the above but is a Set.