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Core Java Interview Questions and Answers

Ques 271. Types of OutOfMemoryError in Java.

Ans. I have seen mainly two types of OutOfMemoryError in Java:

1) Java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
2) Java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen space

Though both of them occur because JVM ran out of memory they are quite different to each other and there solutions are independent to each other.

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Ques 272. Difference between "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space" and "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen space"
Ans. If you are familiar with different generations on heap and How garbage collection works in java and aware of new, old and permanent generation of heap space then you would have easily figured out this OutOfMemoryError in Java. Permanent generation of heap is used to store String pool and various Meta data required by JVM related to Class, method and other java primitives. Since in most of JVM default size of Perm Space is around "64MB" you can easily ran out of memory if you have too many classes or huge number of Strings in your project. Important point to remember is that it doesn't depends on Xmx value so no matter how big your total heap size you can ran OutOfMemory in perm space. Good think is you can specify size of permanent generation using JVM options "-XX:PermSize" and "-XX:MaxPermSize" based on your project need.

One small thing to remember is that "=" is used to separate parameter and value while specifying size of perm space in heap while "=" is not required while setting maximum heap size in java, as shown in below example.

export JVM_ARGS="-Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m"

Another reason of "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen" is memory leak through Classloaders and its very often surfaced in WebServer and application server like tomcat, webshere, glassfish or weblogic. In Application server different classloaders are used to load different web application so that you can deploy and undeploy one application without affecting other application on same server, but while undeploying if container some how keeps reference of any class loaded by application class loader than that class and all other related class will not be garbage collected and can quickly fill the PermGen space if you deploy and undeploy your application many times. "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen has been observed many times in tomcat in our last project but solution of this problem are really tricky because first you need to know which class is causing memory leak and then you need to fix that. Another reason of OutOfMemoryError in PermGen space is if any thread started by application doesn't exit when you undeploy your application.

These are just some example of infamous classloader leaks, anybody who is writing code for loading and unloading classes have to be very careful to avoid this. You can also use visualgc for monitoring PermGen space, this tool will show graph of PermGen space and you can see how and when Permanent space getting increased. I suggest using this tool before reaching to any conclusion.

Another rather unknown but interesting cause of "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen" we found is introduction of JVM options "-Xnoclassgc". This option sometime used to avoid loading and unloading of classes when there is no further live references of it just to avoid performance hit due to frequent loading and unloading, but using this option is J2EE environment can be very dangerous because many framework e.g. Struts, spring etc uses reflection to create classes and with frequent deployment and undeployment you can easily ran out of space in PermGen if earlier references was not cleaned up. This instance also points out that some time bad JVM arguments or configuration can cause OutOfMemoryError in Java.
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Ques 273. How HashMap works in Java?
Ans. "How does get () method of HashMap works in Java"

And then you get answers like I don't bother its standard Java API, you better look code on java; I can find it out in Google at any time etc.
But some interviewee definitely answer this and will say "HashMap works on principle of hashing, we have put () and get () method for storing and retrieving data from hashMap. When we pass an object to put () method to store it on hashMap, hashMap implementation calls
hashcode() method hashMap key object and by applying that hashcode on its own hashing funtion it identifies a bucket location for storing value object , important part here is HashMap stores both key+value in bucket which is essential to understand the retrieving logic. if people fails to recognize this and say it only stores Value in the bucket they will fail to explain the retrieving logic of any object stored in HashMap . This answer is very much acceptable and does make sense that interviewee has fair bit of knowledge how hashing works and how HashMap works in Java.
But this is just start of story and going forward when depth increases a little bit and when you put interviewee on scenarios every java developers faced day by day basis. So next question would be more likely about collision detection and collision resolution in Java HashMap ->

"What will happen if two different objects have same hashcode?"

Now from here confusion starts some time interviewer will say that since Hashcode is equal objects are equal and HashMap will throw exception or not store it again etc. then you might want to remind them about equals and hashCode() contract that two unequal object in Java very much can have equal hashcode. Some will give up at this point and some will move ahead and say "Since hashcode () is same, bucket location would be same and collision occurs in hashMap, Since HashMap use a linked list to store in bucket, value object will be stored in next node of linked list." great this answer make sense to me though there could be some other collision resolution methods available this is simplest and HashMap does follow this.

"How will you retreive if two different objects have same hashcode?"

Interviewee will say we will call get() method and then HashMap uses keys hashcode to find out bucket location and retrieves object but then you need to remind him that there are two objects are stored in same bucket , so they will say about traversal in linked list until we find the value object , then you ask how do you identify value object because you don't value object to compare ,So until they know that HashMap stores both Key and Value in linked list node they won't be able to resolve this issue and will try and fail.

But those bunch of people who remember this key information will say that after finding bucket location , we will call keys.equals() method to identify correct node in linked list and return associated value object for that key in Java HashMap. Perfect this is the correct answer.

In many cases interviewee fails at this stage because they get confused between hashcode () and equals () and keys and values object in hashMap which is pretty obvious because they are dealing with the hashcode () in all previous questions and equals () come in picture only in case of retrieving value object from HashMap.
Some good developer point out here that using immutable, final object with proper equals () and hashcode () implementation would act as perfect Java HashMap keys and improve performance of Java hashMap by reducing collision. Immutability also allows caching there hashcode of different keys which makes overall retrieval process very fast and suggest that String and various wrapper classes e.g Integer provided by Java Collection API are very good HashMap keys.

Now if you clear all this java hashmap interview question you will be surprised by this very interesting question "What happens On HashMap in Java if the size of the Hashmap exceeds a given threshold defined by load factor ?". Until you know how hashmap works exactly you won't be able to answer this question.
if the size of the map exceeds a given threshold defined by load-factor e.g. if load factor is .75 it will act to re-size the map once it filled 75%. Java Hashmap does that by creating another new bucket array of size twice of previous size of hashmap, and then start putting every old element into that new bucket array and this process is called rehashing because it also applies hash function to find new bucket location.

If you manage to answer this question on hashmap in java you will be greeted by "do you see any problem with resizing of hashmap in Java" , you might not be able to pick the context and then he will try to give you hint about multiple thread accessing the java hashmap and potentially looking for race condition on HashMap in Java.

So the answer is Yes there is potential race condition exists while resizing hashmap in Java, if two thread at the same time found that now Java Hashmap needs resizing and they both try to resizing. on the process of resizing of hashmap in Java , the element in bucket which is stored in linked list get reversed in order during there migration to new bucket because java hashmap doesn't append the new element at tail instead it append new element at head to avoid tail traversing. if race condition happens then you will end up with an infinite loop. though this point you can potentially argue that what the hell makes you think to use HashMap in multi-threaded environment to interviewer.
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Ques 274. What is the difference between Synchronized Collection classes and Concurrent Collection Classes ? When to use what ?
Ans. The synchronized collections classes, Hashtable and Vector, and the synchronized wrapper classes, Collections.synchronizedMap and Collections.synchronizedList, provide a basic conditionally thread-safe implementation of Map and List.
However, several factors make them unsuitable for use in highly concurrent applications -- their single collection-wide lock is an impediment to scalability and it often becomes necessary to lock a collection for a considerable time during iteration to prevent ConcurrentModificationExceptions.

The ConcurrentHashMap and CopyOnWriteArrayList implementations provide much higher concurrency while preserving thread safety, with some minor compromises in their promises to callers. ConcurrentHashMap and CopyOnWriteArrayList are not necessarily useful everywhere you might use HashMap or ArrayList, but are designed to optimize specific common situations. Many concurrent applications will benefit from their use.

So what is the difference between hashtable and ConcurrentHashMap , both can be used in multithreaded environment but once the size of hashtable becomes considerable large performance degrade because for iteration it has to be locked for longer duration.

Since ConcurrentHashMap indroduced concept of segmentation , how large it becomes only certain part of it get locked to provide thread safety so many other readers can still access map without waiting for iteration to complete.

In Summary ConcurrentHashMap only locked certain portion of Map while Hashtable lock full map while doing iteration.
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Ques 275. How to use Comparator and Comparable in Java? With example.
Ans. Comparators and comparable in Java are two of fundamental interface of Java API which is very important to understand to implement sorting in Java. Its often required to sort objects stored in any collection class or in Array and that time we need to use compare () and compare To () method defined in java.util.Comparator and java.lang.Comparable class. Lets see some important points about both Comparable and Comparator in Java before moving ahead

Difference between Comparator and Comparable in Java

1) Comparator in Java is defined in java.util package while Comparable interface in Java is defined in java.lang package.

2) Comparator interface in Java has method public int compare (Object o1, Object o2) which returns a negative integer, zero, or a positive integer as the first argument is less than, equal to, or greater than the second. While Comparable interface has method public int compareTo(Object o) which returns a negative integer, zero, or a positive integer as this object is less than, equal to, or greater than the specified object.

3) If you see then logical difference between these two is Comparator in Java compare two objects provided to him, while Comparable interface compares "this" reference with the object specified.

4) Comparable in Java is used to implement natural ordering of object. In Java API String, Date and wrapper classes implement Comparable interface.

5) If any class implement Comparable interface in Java then collection of that object either List or Array can be sorted automatically by using Collections.sort() or Arrays.sort() method and object will be sorted based on there natural order defined by CompareTo method.

6)Objects which implement Comparable in Java can be used as keys in a sorted map or elements in a sorted set for example TreeSet, without specifying any Comparator.

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