In neuroscience, population coding theory demonstrates that neural assemblies can achieve fault-tolerant information processing. Mapped to nanoelectronics, this strategy could allow for reliable computing with scaled-down, noisy, imperfect devices. Doing so requires that the population components form a set of basis functions in terms of their response functions to inputs, offering a physical substrate for computing. Such a population can be implemented with CMOS technology, but the corresponding circuits have high area or energy requirements. Here, we show that nanoscale magnetic tunnel junctions can instead be assembled to meet these requirements. We demonstrate experimentally that a population of nine junctions can implement a basis set of functions, providing the data to achieve, for example, the generation of cursive letters. We design hybrid magnetic-CMOS systems based on interlinked populations of junctions and show that they can learn to realize non-linear variability-resilient transformations with a low imprint area and low power.

Article published in Nature Communications [1].

[1] A. Mizrahi, T. Hirtzlin, A. Fukushima, H. Kubota, S. Yuasa, J. Grollier, D. Querlioz, Neural-like computing with populations of superparamagnetic basis functions. Nature Communications. 9, 1533 (2018).