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Could someone explain why this would deadlock if performed in reverse order? Why wouldn't block 0 run to completion? Are blocks executed to completion before another block can be run?


If you run the blocks sequentially in reverse order without context-switching, then block N would never terminate (as it waits for block 0 to set the flag).


Notice the assumption here is that it is a single core GPU for one block per core, so the core can only run one block at a time. In this case, if block N runs first, then it cannot jump out of the while loop.