One of the most frequently asked questions about quantum computing relates to how long before a quantum computer can break a public key cryptography code such as RSA-2048. Most of the time, the response is a general answer of “perhaps 10 years or more”. We have tried to analyze this ourselves in an article titled Applying Moore’s Law to Quantum Qubits and estimated this could happen anywhere between the years 2028 and 2041 depending upon how much error correction is required.
But in October of 2019 a more structured analysis called the Quantum Threat Timeline was published by the Global Risk Institute in association with Dr. Michele Mosca and Dr. Marco Piani of quantum-safe cybersecurity company evolutionQ that we think deserves more attention. They surveyed a set of 22 thought leaders who are expert in many areas of quantum science and technology who come from both industry and academia and located in four different continents. The survey generated a wealth of data which you can view in the links we list below, but you can see a quick summary below of their opinions on just one of the questions from the survey in the chart below.

For those who want to dig into this further, you can view the introduction to the report on the Global Risk Institute’s web site here, you can download the Executive Summary here, and you can download the full report that shows who was surveyed, the questions that were asked, and the details of the answers here.

December 13, 2019