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Summary form only given. Rising data transmission rates in optical communication systems portend the need for high-speed recognition of bit patterns for packet header or code-division-based routing. Several techniques that have been proposed rely on correlation techniques and are therefore subject to pattern-dependent decision thresholds. We present a noncorrelational technique that uses phase-dependent neighbor-to-neighbor interaction of solitons to indicate a desired data pattern. We have demonstrated recognition of four-bit headers at a 63-Gbit/s data rate. The experiment consisted of two sections: in the first, four-bit data words and four-bit probe words were formed and copropagated to achieve a data-pattern-dependent modulation of probe pulse phases through cross-phase modulation. In the second, the probe pulses were separated from the data and evolved during propagation to form different results depending on the probe-word phase pattern.