The quantum challenge of meteorological predictions

Weather prediction is one of the future applications of quantum computing that experts in the field are beginning to focus on.

Although quantum computers are not yet up to date, these machines should excel in solving complex equations by generating very significant gains in terms of computing speed and resources.

Quantum computing could thus, in the future, help to quickly predict weather changes and prevent the most extreme climatic situations, such as high temperatures and floods.

French quantum startup Pasqal, which launched in 2019, recently announced an alliance with BASF to help the German chemical company predict weather patterns. Although this nascent partnership promises immense advances in the field of science, it is still only at a prospective stage.

Quantum algorithms to predict the weather

BASF would like to use Pasqal’s neutral atom quantum processors for its weather modeling applications in the future.

“Pasqal’s quantum solutions are ideal for simplifying BASF’s complex computer simulations, once the quantum hardware has matured to the point where we can actually exploit these algorithms,” said Dr. John Manobianco, the division’s lead weather modeler. agricultural solutions from BASF.

At BASF, parameters generated by weather models are used to simulate crop yields and growth stages, as well as to predict drift when applying crop protection products.

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They are also integrated with BASF’s digital agriculture products, including xarvio FIELD MANAGER, an advanced crop optimization platform.

The chemistry company wants to study how Pasqal’s quantum algorithms could one day be used to predict weather patterns. Lessons learned from this project can serve as a basis for “future extensions of Pasqal’s methods to support climate modeling,” the July press release said.

Monitoring the effects of climate change

Physics-based weather models are very complex as they incorporate data on winds, heat transfer, solar radiation, relative humidity, terrain topology and many other parameters.

Pasqal wants to solve complex equations by implementing quantum neural networks on his neutral atom quantum processors.

“With climate change, we are seeing more extreme weather patterns, making weather forecasting accurate and timely for business and society. Partnering with an important player like BASF is a step forward in learning how quantum computing can help monitor and mitigate the worst effects of global climate change,” said Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal.

There is still a big boulevard in this area, since only 5% of global investments in high performance computing are devoted to weather modeling, according to Hyperion Research.

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