Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Quantum Impact: Computing a more sustainable future (Ep. 1)

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Environmental challenges today

represent one of our most existential challenges yet.

Land use optimization is this problem

that classical computing isn't perfectly poised to solve.

For many of us, quantum computing seems

like a relatively new concept.

But the reality is that quantum computing has existed

for billions of years.

Nature is our most powerful quantum computer.

At its core, nature operates on a quantum scale,

and behaves according to the rules of quantum mechanics,

a system that governs our world.

With quantum computing, we are now harnessing

this behavior of the natural world

to unlock better environmental solutions

to help secure our future.

I'm Julie Love, Senior Director

of Quantum Business Development at Microsoft,

and today I'm meeting with Lucas Joppa,

Microsoft's Chief Environmental Officer,

to talk about the complex environmental challenges

we're facing today.

We are at the beautiful Oxbow Farms.

I thought this would be a super contextual spot

for us to talk a little bit about the intersection

of environmental challenges and computing.

I've been really excited about our partnership.

We have this shared passion for the environment.

How can we deploy quantum technologies

to help with climate change.

What are the issues that you see the world facing?

Environmental challenges today represent,

as a human society, one of our most existential

challenges yet.

We somehow have to figure out how to mitigate and adapt

to changing climates, ensure resilient water supplies,

somehow sustainably feed a human population

growing to 10 billion people, all while stemming

an ongoing and catastrophic loss of biodiversity,

and we can't do any of those things independently,

they have to be done together.

Well, those four big pillars also are in conflict

with each other, as well.

And you've had a lot of work going on

in land use optimization,

where we can deploy these quantum techniques

to solve this vast array of variables

that we need to optimize,

and simply having local optimizations is not gonna cut it,

at the scale of the Earth.

That's right, Earth is a big place,

and there's a lot going on.

You can break the Earth into every square meter

of land and water, and for every place on Earth,

there's many different things

that we could use that land or water for.

We could use it for protection, for growing food,

for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere,

for putting houses for people to live.

It's all about how we can help people make better choices,

so that we can minimize our impact on the planet,

and the planet can maximize its contributions

to human society.

If it's done globally,

proper land use optimization will allow us

to produce enough food for the world's population,

while still protecting our communities,

our water supply, and animal habitats.

To solve optimization problems today,

we use new quantum solutions deployed on classical hardware.

These algorithms sift through a vast number of possibilities

to find an optimal outcome, and they can also scale

to the quantum computers of tomorrow.

Harnessing the full power of quantum

to solve tougher problems, like the land use challenges

here at Oxbow.

Oxbow, as a whole, is 250 acres.

Being situated on such a large amount of land,

it's easy to think, you know,

maybe I should grow a little bit more

and grow a little bit longer in the season,

but doing that, we open ourselves up to some

of the negative repercussions that can come about

from agriculture: erosion in a flood event,

runoff that hinder the salmon that spawn in the river,

things like that.

Right now we're growing on 15 acres of land,

but we manage 30.

We rotate through those 30 acres in a way that allows us

to make the money that we need to as a farm,

but also contribute to soil health.

The whole mission and focus of what we do

is to grow organic food, but do it in a way

that's low impact on the environment

and actually beneficial to the lands on which we're farming.

What I think is amazing is you're considering

not only your land and your business,

but the environment around us,

which is not always top-of-mind.

It definitely isn't, but I think it's something

that we're becoming more conscious of.

Because of that, as we look at the way we use our land,

we try to recognize that the impact we have on that land

will impact our community as well.

Decisions that Oxbow is making

showcases all of the different land use decisions

that people have to make everywhere.

All of it's part of this global system,

and literally we need to do

a global optimization of this problem.

We have thousands of variables that are highly interacting.

This becomes a vastly exponential search space,

and with quantum computers we can explore that space

in a really different way that's not possible

with classical computers.

What excites me about quantum computing is this ability

to exist in many states at once

and to explore many different scenarios.

It just seems like a perfect computing architecture

to combine with what I think to be one

of the world's biggest optimization challenges.

Being at Oxbow with Lucas was a great opportunity

to see how these complex land use problems

are being solved today.

Quantum solutions for optimization will play a pivotal role

in helping farmers and land managers

make more globally informed decisions

that will not only contribute

to the overall health of our world,

but also lead us into a more sustainable future.

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