Probabilistic inference from real-time input data is becoming increasingly popular and may be one of the potential pathways at enabling cognitive intelligence. As a matter of fact, preliminary research has revealed that stochastic functionalities also underlie the spiking behavior of neurons in cortical microcircuits of the human brain. In tune with such observations, neuromorphic and other unconventional computing platforms have recently started adopting the usage of computational units that generate outputs probabilistically, depending on the magnitude of the input stimulus. In this work, we experimentally demonstrate a spintronic device that offers a direct mapping to the functionality of such a controllable stochastic switching element. We show that the probabilistic switching of Ta/CoFeB/MgO heterostructures in presence of spin-orbit torque and thermal noise can be harnessed to enable probabilistic inference in a plethora of unconventional computing scenarios. This work can potentially pave the way for hardware that directly mimics the computational units of Bayesian inference.
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