What is the iHawk?
The iHawk™ is Concurrent Real-Time’s high-performance, Linux-based computer platform for time-critical simulation, data acquisition, and process control applications, including those in the domain of embedded software. iHawk platforms are built with the latest and greatest commercial-off-the-shelf components available in the market. Users leverage Concurrent Real-Time’s expertise in real-time to build a real-time iHawk systems that are optimized for their application and can easily scale to support future projects. The following choices are available on iHawks:
- Intel, AMD, or ARM CPUs
- Up-to 224 CPU core systems
- 1.5GHz to 4.1GHz CPU core speeds
- TerraByte storage and RAM
- Graphics and compute GPU support
- Root of Trust
- Memory and cache isolation
AeroHawk, a state-of-the-art, flexible hardware-in-the-loop solution for aerospace and defense is now available as a complete solution. First launched at I/ITSEC in November 2022, AeroHawk comprises a full hardware, software, and integration solution that is unmatched.
Jump to Section
iHawk systems come in standard rackmount, tower, and desktop enclosures with up to 18 integral PCIe slots and optional PCIe and PCI expansion chassis. For applications that require a VME I/O subsystem, PCIe-to-VME bridges and chassis are available. iHawk systems can contain up to 72 disk drives with optional RAID capability. In addition, iHawks support digital twins, allowing for advanced simulations and virtual representations of the system’s performance. These systems are also available with ruggedized packaging and conformal coating. iHawk systems can be interconnected using Ethernet, reflective memory, or high-speed fabrics such as Infiniband.
Concurrent’s Special Systems group is available to design and deliver iHawk systems for customers who require complete competitive solutions for demanding real-time applications. Concurrent engineers can provide special packaging including peripherals and enclosures, integrate third-party I/O cards, develop and integrate RedHawk Linux drivers, and perform application re-hosting. Hardware and software is designed and developed to exact customer specifications.
iHawk symmetric multiprocessors feature from one to eight Intel x86 processors and up to 1 TB of memory in a single rackmount or tower enclosure.
Real-Time Linux Performance and Determinism
At the heart of every iHawk solution is Concurrent’s RedHawk Linux real-time operating system. Compatible with the popular Red Hat®, CentOS and Ubuntu Linux distributions, RedHawk features high I/O throughput, fast response to external events, interprocess communication and optimized NUMA memory enhancements. iHawk is the ideal Linux environment for complex real-time applications.
RedHawk Linux is based upon a multi-threaded, fully pre-emptible Linux kernel with low-latency enhancements. RedHawk’s true symmetric multiprocessing support includes load-balancing and CPU shielding to maximize determinism and real-time performance in mission-critical solutions. A user-level application can be guaranteed to respond to an external event in less than 5 microseconds on certified platforms.
NightStar Debugging and Analysis Tools
Concurrent’s NightStar is a powerful, integrated tool set for debugging and analyzing time-critical Linux applications. NightStar tools run with minimal intrusion, thus preserving application execution behavior and determinism. Users can quickly and easily debug, monitor, schedule, analyze and tune applications in real-time. NightStar GUI-based tools reduce test time, increase productivity and lower development costs.
Time-critical applications require debugging tools that can handle the complexities of multiple processors and cores, multi-task interaction and multi-threading. NightStar’s advanced features enable system builders to solve difficult problems quickly. NightStar tools include the Night View source-level debugger, NightTrace graphical analyzer, NightProbe data monitor, NightSim cyclic scheduler and NightTune performance tuner. The NightTrace tool allows a user to graphically view the interaction between the Linux kernel and multiple application threads in real-time.
Real-Time Clock & Interrupt Module
The iHawk’s Real-Time Clock & Interrupt Module (RCIM) is a multifunction PCIe or PCI card designed for time-critical applications that require rapid response to external events. The RCIM includes a synchronized clock readable by multiple iHawk systems, eight programmable timers, and twelve input and twelve output external interrupt lines. The RCIM is fully supported by Concurrent RedHawk Linux.
An optional, on-board GPS module is available to align the RCIM’s synchronized clock to GPS standard time. One GPS-equipped RCIM can synchronize all iHawks in an RCIM chain, or multiple iHawks equipped with the GPS module can operate from a common time base without any cable connections between the systems. POSIX timers based on absolute GPS time can be used to simultaneously start the execution of programs on systems which are not physically connected.
GPU CUDA and Graphics Solutions
Concurrent offers customized real-time CUDA platforms that can contain from 1 to 8 of the latest NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and Quadro and GeForce graphics cards. RedHawk Linux, which includes the latest version of the CUDA SDK, features real-time CUDA optimization. RedHawk reduces the process dispatch latency of real-time processes in CUDA applications from hundreds of microseconds to under 20 microseconds. RedHawk provides better overall performance by optimizing the allocation of memory shared between the CPU and the GPUs.
iHawk systems support Concurrent’s SIMulation Workbench (SimWB), a comprehensive framework for developing and executing real-time hardware-in-the-loop test stands and training system simulations. The SimWB real-time core is organized around a very fast memory resident database. Simulation models and I/O processes have direct access to data with very low latency. Models and I/O processes run sequentially during the real-time loop with their execution dispatched by the SimWB scheduler. This modular design allows for complete I/O independence from the various models with a point-and-click GUI.