Core Java

Exploring Java 8 IntStream: Practical Examples and Usage

Welcome to the world of Java 8 IntStream! In this guide, we’ll dive into the practical side of IntStream, a powerful feature introduced in Java 8. Get ready to explore how IntStream simplifies working with sequences of integers, making your code more concise and efficient. Let’s jump into the examples and see IntStream in action!

Java 8 IntStream logo

1. Simple Ways to Generate Integer Streams

In Java 8, IntStream provides powerful capabilities for working with sequences of integers. Creating IntStreams is a fundamental aspect, allowing developers to generate streams of integers efficiently. Whether it’s creating a range of numbers or using specialized methods, we’ll explore the straightforward ways to generate IntStreams. Let’s unravel these methods and witness how they contribute to streamlined Java programming.

1. range() Method:

The range() method is not only limited to creating simple numeric ranges. It can be applied to create more complex ranges, such as generating a stream of multiples.


IntStream.range(0, 10)
         .map(i -> i * 3)
// Output: 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27

In this example, we’re using map() to transform each element in the range by multiplying it by 3. This showcases how the range() method seamlessly integrates with other stream operations.

2. rangeClosed() Method:

The rangeClosed() method is particularly useful when dealing with inclusive ranges in scenarios like generating random numbers.


IntStream.rangeClosed(1, 5)
         .map(i -> (int) Math.pow(i, 2))
// Output: 1, 4, 9, 16, 25

Here, we’re squaring each element in the inclusive range, demonstrating how rangeClosed() fits well into mathematical transformations.

3. of() Method:

The of() method shines in scenarios where you want to process a fixed set of integers, like working with predefined constants.


IntStream.of(2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
         .filter(n -> n > 5)
// Output: 6, 8, 10

Utilizing the filter() operation along with of() demonstrates how you can easily manipulate streams based on your specific requirements.

4. iterate() Method:

The iterate() method is powerful for creating streams with intricate sequences, such as Fibonacci numbers.


IntStream.iterate(1, n -> n + 2)
// Output: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9

In this example, we’re creating a stream of odd numbers by starting with 1 and incrementing by 2 in each iteration.

5. generate() Method:

The generate() method can be leveraged to create streams with dynamically generated values.


AtomicInteger counter = new AtomicInteger(0);

// Output: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4

Here, we’re using an AtomicInteger as a supplier to generate consecutive values, demonstrating a more dynamic use case.

6. concat() Method:

The concat() method becomes valuable when dealing with multiple streams that need to be seamlessly connected.


IntStream stream1 = IntStream.of(1, 2, 3);
IntStream stream2 = IntStream.of(4, 5, 6);

IntStream.concat(stream1, stream2)
// Output: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

By applying distinct(), we ensure that duplicate elements are removed when concatenating streams.

These examples showcase the versatility and flexibility of Java 8 IntStream creation methods, enabling you to handle more complex scenarios and operations efficiently.

2. Parallel Processing with IntStream

Parallel processing with IntStream in Java allows you to leverage the computational power of multiple cores to perform operations concurrently, potentially speeding up the execution of certain tasks. The parallel() method is used to convert a sequential stream into a parallel stream, enabling parallel execution of stream operations.

Basic Parallel Processing:

The basic idea is to use the parallel() method on an IntStream to convert it into a parallel stream. This allows operations to be executed concurrently across multiple threads.


IntStream.range(1, 10)

In this example, the forEach operation is executed in parallel, distributing the work across available threads. Keep in mind that the order of output might not be sequential due to parallel execution.

Parallel Processing Considerations:

While parallel processing can enhance performance, it’s essential to be aware of certain considerations:

  1. Statelessness: Ensure that stream operations are stateless and do not rely on mutable shared state to avoid potential issues in parallel execution.
  2. Thread Safety: If you have shared mutable data, make sure it is thread-safe to prevent data corruption.
  3. Performance Impact: Not all operations benefit from parallelism, and in some cases, it might introduce overhead. It’s crucial to measure and analyze performance gains.

Combining Parallel and Sequential Operations:

You can also mix parallel and sequential operations within a single stream pipeline. The sequential() method is used to convert a parallel stream back to a sequential one.


IntStream.range(1, 10)
         .filter(x -> x % 2 == 0) // Parallel filter
         .map(x -> x * x) // Sequential map

Here, the filter operation is executed in parallel, and then the stream is converted back to sequential for the map operation.

Performance Testing:

Measure the performance of parallel versus sequential processing using tools like the System.currentTimeMillis() method to record the start and end times of operations.


long startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();

IntStream.range(1, 1_000_000)
         .map(x -> x * x)

long endTime = System.currentTimeMillis();
System.out.println("Time taken: " + (endTime - startTime) + " milliseconds");

Compare the time taken for parallel and sequential executions to determine the effectiveness of parallel processing for a specific task.

You should bear in mind that not all operations are suitable for parallelization, and the benefits depend on factors like the size of the data set, the nature of operations, and the available hardware. Parallel processing can be a powerful tool when used judiciously in scenarios where it provides a performance advantage.

3. Combining Stream Operations

Combining stream operations in Java allows you to create more complex and sophisticated transformations on the data. Stream operations can be chained together, creating a pipeline of operations that are applied sequentially. Here, we’ll explore some common stream operations and demonstrate how they can be combined.

Chaining Operations:

One of the key features of Java streams is the ability to chain multiple operations together. Each operation in the chain processes the elements and produces a new stream, allowing for a seamless flow of data processing.


List<String> words = Arrays.asList("apple", "banana", "grape", "orange");

// Chaining filter and map operations
List<Integer> lengths =
                            .filter(s -> s.length() > 5)

// Output: [6, 6]

In this example, the filter operation selects words with a length greater than 5, and the map operation transforms those words into their respective lengths.

Combining filter and distinct:

Combining different operations can lead to more concise and expressive code. The distinct operation can be combined with filter to achieve specific filtering requirements.


List<Integer> numbers = Arrays.asList(1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5);

// Combining filter and distinct operations
List<Integer> distinctEvenNumbers =
                                          .filter(n -> n % 2 == 0)

// Output: [2, 4]

Here, the filter operation selects even numbers, and the subsequent distinct operation ensures that only distinct even numbers are included in the result.

Combining map and flatMap:

The map and flatMap operations are often combined to transform elements within a stream. map applies a function to each element, while flatMap can be used to handle nested collections.


List<List<String>> nestedWords = Arrays.asList(
        Arrays.asList("apple", "banana"),
        Arrays.asList("orange", "grape")

// Combining map and flatMap to flatten nested lists
List<String> flattenedWords =

// Output: [apple, banana, orange, grape]

Here, flatMap is used to flatten the nested lists of words into a single list of strings.

Combining multiple filters:

You can apply multiple filter operations in sequence to narrow down the elements based on different criteria.


List<Integer> numbers = Arrays.asList(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10);

// Combining multiple filter operations
List<Integer> filteredNumbers =
                                      .filter(n -> n > 5)
                                      .filter(n -> n % 2 == 0)

// Output: [6, 8, 10]

This example combines two filter operations to select numbers greater than 5 and even numbers.

Combining Operations for Complex Transformations:

In more complex scenarios, you might chain together a combination of operations such as filter, map, reduce, and custom functions to achieve intricate transformations on the data.


List<String> words = Arrays.asList("apple", "banana", "grape", "orange");

// Combining multiple operations for a custom transformation
String concatenatedUppercase =
                                    .filter(s -> s.length() > 5)
                                    .reduce("", (result, s) -> result + s);


In this case, words longer than 5 characters are filtered, converted to uppercase, and then concatenated into a single string.

By combining stream operations, you can create expressive and concise code for processing data in a wide variety of ways. Understanding how to chain these operations effectively is key to harnessing the full power of Java streams.

4. IntStream Collectors

In Java, the Collectors utility class provides a set of static factory methods for creating collectors, which are used to accumulate elements into various types of collections or to perform other aggregate operations on them. When working with IntStream, you can use collectors to efficiently gather and process the elements of the stream. Here are some common scenarios where Collectors with IntStream can be beneficial:

Collecting to a List:

The toList() collector is used to accumulate elements of the stream into a List.


import java.util.List;

List<Integer> numberList = IntStream.range(1, 6)

// Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Here, boxed() is used to convert the IntStream to a Stream<Integer> before collecting to a List.

Collecting to a Set:

The toSet() collector is used to accumulate elements of the stream into a Set, removing duplicates in the process.


import java.util.Set;

Set<Integer> numberSet = IntStream.of(1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5)

// Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Here, the toSet() collector ensures that only distinct elements are included in the resulting Set.

Collecting to a Map:

The toMap() collector is used to accumulate elements of the stream into a Map. You need to provide key and value mapping functions.


import java.util.Map;

Map<Integer, String> numberMap = IntStream.range(1, 6)
                                              i -> i,
                                              i -> "Number" + i

// Output: {1=Number1, 2=Number2, 3=Number3, 4=Number4, 5=Number5}

In this example, each integer is mapped to a string indicating it as “Number” concatenated with the integer.

Summarizing Statistics:

The summarizingInt() collector collects statistics, such as count, sum, min, average, and max, for the elements of the IntStream.


import java.util.IntSummaryStatistics;

IntSummaryStatistics stats = IntStream.range(1, 6)
                                      .collect(Collectors.summarizingInt(i -> i));

// Output: IntSummaryStatistics{count=5, sum=15, min=1, average=3.000000, max=5}

Here, the summarizingInt() collector provides statistical information about the numbers in the stream.

Joining Elements to a String:

The joining() collector concatenates the elements of the stream into a single String, with an optional delimiter, prefix, and suffix.



String result = IntStream.range(1, 6)
                        .collect(Collectors.joining(", ", "[", "]"));

// Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Here, mapToObj is used to convert each integer to a String before joining them into a comma-separated string enclosed in square brackets.

Custom Collectors:

You can create custom collectors by using the Collector.of() method. This allows you to define your own logic for accumulating elements.



// Custom collector to concatenate even numbers into a single string
Collector<Integer, StringBuilder, String> evenNumbersCollector =
                     (sb, i) -> { if (i % 2 == 0) sb.append(i); },

String result = IntStream.range(1, 6)

// Output: 246

This example demonstrates a custom collector that concatenates even numbers into a single string.

Using collectors with IntStream provides a powerful way to aggregate and process the elements of the stream, making it more versatile for various use cases.

5. Use Cases in Real-world Scenarios

IntStream in Java finds application in various real-world scenarios where numerical data processing is required. Let’s explore a few practical use cases:

1. Mathematical Calculations:

  • Scenario: Calculating mathematical operations on a set of numbers.
  • Example:
int sum = IntStream.range(1, 11).sum();
System.out.println("Sum: " + sum);
// Output: Sum: 55
  • This can be applied to compute other mathematical operations like average, product, or any custom mathematical function.

2. Data Filtering and Transformation:

  • Scenario: Filtering and transforming data based on specific criteria.
  • Example:
IntStream.of(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
         .filter(n -> n % 2 == 0)
         .map(n -> n * n)
// Output: 4, 16
  • Here, even numbers are squared, demonstrating how IntStream simplifies data processing.

3. Statistical Analysis:

  • Scenario: Performing statistical analysis on a dataset.
  • Example:
IntSummaryStatistics stats = IntStream.of(12, 34, 56, 78, 90)
System.out.println("Statistics: " + stats);
// Output: Statistics: IntSummaryStatistics{count=5, sum=270, min=12, average=54.000000, max=90}
  • The summaryStatistics() method provides statistical information about the data.

4. Generating Sequences:

  • Scenario: Generating sequences of numbers meeting specific criteria.
  • Example:
IntStream.iterate(0, n -> n + 2)
// Output: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8
  • This example generates the first five even numbers starting from 0.

5. Parallel Processing:

  • Scenario: Utilizing parallel processing for enhanced performance.
  • Example:
int sumParallel = IntStream.range(1, 1_000_001)
System.out.println("Sum in parallel: " + sumParallel);
  • Parallel processing is beneficial for large datasets, utilizing multiple cores for faster execution.

6. Finding Prime Numbers:

  • Scenario: Identifying prime numbers within a range.
  • Example:
IntStream.range(1, 20)
// Output: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19
  • The isPrime method filters out non-prime numbers.

7. Data Validation:

  • Scenario: Validating data against specific criteria.
  • Example:
boolean allEven = IntStream.of(2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
                           .allMatch(n -> n % 2 == 0);
System.out.println("All even: " + allEven);
// Output: All even: true
  • Checks if all elements are even.

These scenarios illustrate the versatility of IntStream in handling various numerical processing tasks in real-world applications, from simple calculations to complex data analysis.

6. Best Practices and Tips

When working with IntStream in Java, it’s essential to adhere to best practices and leverage tips to ensure efficient and readable code. Firstly, prefer using the range method for generating sequential ranges of integers. Employ method chaining to create concise and readable pipelines of operations. For parallel processing, assess the performance impact and consider factors like statelessness and thread safety.

Be cautious when using the boxed() method for converting IntStream to Stream, as it incurs the overhead of boxing primitive values. Utilize specialized collectors from the Collectors utility class, such as summarizingInt() for statistics or joining() for concatenating elements into a string. Additionally, explore the versatility of combining different stream operations to achieve complex transformations effectively. Finally, consider using custom collectors when a specific accumulation logic is required. Following these practices enhances code quality and ensures optimal utilization of IntStream in Java applications.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering Java’s IntStream opens up a world of possibilities for efficiently processing numerical data. Whether you’re performing mathematical calculations, filtering and transforming data, or delving into statistical analysis, IntStream provides a concise and powerful toolset. Remember to employ best practices, such as preferring the range method, using method chaining for readability, and carefully considering parallel processing. The diverse set of collectors from the Collectors utility class adds versatility to data aggregation. By exploring various real-world scenarios and embracing tips for effective usage, you can harness the full potential of IntStream to simplify and optimize numerical processing tasks in your Java applications.

Eleftheria Drosopoulou

Eleftheria is an Experienced Business Analyst with a robust background in the computer software industry. Proficient in Computer Software Training, Digital Marketing, HTML Scripting, and Microsoft Office, they bring a wealth of technical skills to the table. Additionally, she has a love for writing articles on various tech subjects, showcasing a talent for translating complex concepts into accessible content.
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