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The problem of locating a periodically inserted frame synchronization pattern in random data is considered for a directdetection optical communication channel. Both pulse-position modulation and on-off keying with known symbol synchronization are considered. The high signal-to-noise ratio approximation of the maximum likelihood decision rule is derived for each of these cases. Analytical bounds and simulation results on synchronization probability show that the high SNR ML rule has a performance approaching that of the optimum ML rule over a wide range of signal-to-noise ratios. This decision rule also provides a substantial performance improvement over the correlator rule with virtually no additional implementation complexity.