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Femtosecond laser pulse temporal shaping techniques have led to important advances in different research fields like photochemistry, laser physics, non-linear optics, biology, or materials processing. This success is partly related to the use of optimal control algorithms. Due to the high dimensionality of the solution and control spaces, evolutionary algorithms are extensively applied and, among them, genetic ones have reached the status of a standard adaptive strategy. Still, their use is normally accompanied by a reduction of the problem complexity by different modalities of parameterization of the spectral phase. Exploiting Rabitz and co-authors' ideas about the topology of quantum landscapes, in this work we analyze the optimization of two different problems under a deterministic approach, using a multiple one-dimensional search (MODS) algorithm. In the first case we explore the determination of the optimal phase mask required for generating arbitrary temporal pulse shapes and compare the performance of the MODS algorithm to the standard iterative Gerchberg&-Saxton algorithm. Based on the good performance achieved, the same method has been applied for optimizing two-photon absorption starting from temporally broadened laser pulses, or from laser pulses temporally and spectrally distorted by non-linear absorption in air, obtaining similarly good results which confirm the validity of the deterministic search approach.