Optical networks have revolutionized the way we transport data over long distances. Now, with ever increasing demand for bandwidth, researchers and manufacturers alike turn towards optical networks even for short distances. One particularly interesting area where this is applied is network-on-chip. Here, light is used to transport data from one part of the chip to another. But the role of the network does not stop there. Inside the chip, we can fold light back on to itself, allowing us to use the network itself as a place for calculation through interference and resonation. Photonic integrated circuits (PIC) manipulate light at microscopic scales on the surface of a chip. A new class of PICs, called programmable photonic circuits, are designed to be generic. Like an electronic computer processor, the functionality can be programmed in software. But unlike electronic processors, programmable photonics require completely new programming algorithms, as they behave more like road networks with specific physical constraints. In this research project, we will design new advanced optimization techniques and heuristics to route light in optical networks. This routing will not only consist of going from point A to B, but also consists of enabling modulation of light through the capacity to fold light back onto itself. We will also look to design advanced mesh architectures, improving routing and enabling more complex modulation to happen within the mesh.