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The problem of synthesizing all-optical networks for microwave frequency filtering applications is addressed. Analysis techniques are based upon established discrete time signal theory, but the assumption of incoherent optical interference restricts the time domain output to positive values, thus preventing the reliable application of traditional digital filter design methods. A new approach, based on the application of genetic algorithms, is described and demonstrated. Results show this to be a viable and rugged solution to the problem, which unlike previous approaches, produces filters that meet the design specifications in an optimal fashion.