The OPX uses memory in a completely different way from your garden-variety AWG, and we should first understand how so as not to compare apples to oranges.
Consider how you would play a Ramsey sequence from an AWG with a 1 GSPS sampling rate. This involves uploading a waveform long enough to contain the two excitation pulses as well as the delay in between. If each pulse is 20 ns long, and the delay between them is 1000 ns, then at a sampling rate of 1 GSPS this waveform would consist of 1040 samples.
The OPX pulse processor operates in a completely different manner. Firstly, only the pulse amplitude is stored in the memory; upconversion to the intermediate frequency happens in real time. A pulse of constant amplitude and arbitrary length is thus generated from a single sample!
For the Ramsey sequence we might want the 20 ns pulse to have a Gaussian envelope, and accordingly use 20 samples of waveform memory. The QUA program to run a Ramsey sequence would look like this:
The OPX uses the same waveform memory to play the Gaussian twice, and can just as easily play it a thousand times — with the same 20 samples! In fact, it can dynamically change the Gaussian amplitude, or stretch the Gaussian for a pulse duration longer than 20 ns — whether pre-programmed or in a real-time response to measurement — without using additional memory.
What about the
wait(t_delay) command? An AWG requires a long sequence of zeros to space the pulses, and since characterization of high-coherence devices require long delay times, memory limitations can be prohibitive. But in the OPX the
wait() command does not use any waveform memory!
A full Ramsey experiment, including a measurement operation followed by a
wait() command to allow the qubit to return to the ground state, would look like this:
with for_each_(t_delay, t_values):
t_values over which we are looping for
t_delay can contain a million values, and the variables
reset can have values of seconds — and the entire experiment will still exploit the same 20 samples of waveform memory.
Now that we understand how powerfully and intelligently the OPX utilizes its memory, we can give a short answer: Each OPX channel has a waveform memory of 2^16 = 65,536 samples. This sounds small for an AWG, but is huge for a pulse processor!