- A new method for developing optical code division multi- plexed access (CDMA) address code sequences is presented. The method is based on the genetic algorithm, which has already shown success in developing two-dimensional correlation functions for pattern recognition. The algorithm is very flexible in its optimization criteria and is thus adequate for various optical CDMA applications, including coherent and noncoherent systems. Preliminary computer experimental results are presented that indicate very good discrimination ratios and very fast convergence of the search process. Important implications include synchronization-independent CDMA system design, reduction in optical beat noise, optical power budget improvement, and enhanced security. © 1999 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. (S0091-3286(99)01901-7) Subject terms: optical CDMA; genetic algorithm; optical communication; optical coding.