Pasqal and BASF to use quantum computing for weather prediction

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Neutral atoms quantum processor manufacturer Pasqal has collaborated with chemical company BASF to explore how proprietary quantum algorithms could be used to predict weather patterns.

The conclusions from this project are intended to build a foundation for extensions of Pasqal’s methods to support climate modeling. Physics-based weather models incorporate data on winds, heat transfer, solar radiation, relative humidity, terrain topology and many other parameters. Weather forecasting, therefore, requires solving complex sets of nonlinear differential equations.

According to Hyperion Research, 5% of global high-performance computing investments are focused on weather modeling. BASF uses parameters generated by the weather models to simulate crop yields and growth stages as well as to predict drift when applying crop protection products. They also form the basis of BASF’s digital farming product portfolio including Xarvio Field Manager, a crop optimization platform.

Pasqal aims to solve the underlying complex nonlinear differential equations by implementing so-called quantum neural networks on its neutral atom quantum processors. The classical equivalent of this approach is physics-informed neutral networks (PINN) which are used scientists and technology corporations in weather and climate modeling. For instance, artificial intelligence computing company Nvidia recently launched its Earth-2 AI supercomputer for climate prediction, which leverages PINNs.

Dr John Manobianco, a senior weather modeler at BASF’s agricultural solutions division, said, “Pasqal’s quantum solutions are ideal for simplifying BASF’s complex computational simulations once quantum hardware matures to a point where we can actually leverage these algorithms. Leveraging Pasqal’s innovation for weather modeling validates quantum computing’s ability to go beyond what can be achieved with classical high-performance computing. Such transformational technology can help us prepare for climate change impacts and drive progress toward a more sustainable future.”

Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal, added, “We’re honored to be selected by BASF, a world leader in the chemicals industry, to improve weather modeling through our quantum technology. With climate change we are seeing more extreme weather patterns, which makes accurate and timely weather prediction increasingly more important for business and society. Joining forces 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.”

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