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I find it hard to believe you have marketing people speaking of units of work.
Your right that this is not a j2ee specific issue. Generically how do you cause a thread of execution to break out of this loop:
long i = 0; while( true ) i ++;
Getting hold of the thread and invoking stop (which is deprecated, see http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/api/index.html) or interrupt are not guraneteed to work. The real issue is that java has no reliable capability for stopping a rouge thread.