SVG logo by Gaëtan Tapon (Paris, France)

RefPerSys, a free software symbolic artificial general intelligence project

 French flag RefPerSys est un projet (bénévole) de recherches et un logiciel libre en intelligence artificielle, inspiré par les travaux de feu Jacques Pitrat. Le lecteur est supposé capable de lire l'anglais.

RefPerSys -

An acronym for Reflexive Persistent System. This is an ambitious research project (still unfunded, in 2019 - 2020 it is a hobby project; also very risky!), done on spare time with an open science mindset and ethics.

Early work in progress

We have in 2019 - 2020 a lot of ideas, but not much code (on gitlab). Done by passionate developers on their spare time. Volunteers wanted; please send an email (introducing yourself) to (near Paris, France, homepage here) for more.

The RefPerSys development team

The following persons are working (at end of 2019 or start of 2020) on RefPerSys on their spare time from their home and are the copyright owners of the embryonic software.

The RefPerSys team of developers
who where email home page role
Basile Starynkevitch
(born in 1959, PhD in AI),
resume here
France, Europe
or project leader and architect
Abhishek Chakravarti Kolkota,
West Bengal, India
software developer
Nimesh Neema Indore,
Madhya Pradesh, India software developer

design ideas

A draft document giving some design ideas is downloadable as refpersys-design.pdf. We are improving it in 2019 and 2020.

The currently existing (in 2019 or 2020), on gitlab) code base is a bit disappointing, even to the Refpersys team. But we have a lot of fun doing it. It is constantly improving, publicly available, still unreleased, α-stage. We are aware of the replication crisis.


RefPerSys has been presented at a seminar organized by AFIA in Paris, on March 6th, 2020, dedicated to the memory of Jacques Pitrat, who died in october 2019. Contact Basile Starynkevitch for details. Slides are here in PDF. The video of the talk in French is here.

Please suggest by email to any AI conference, meeting, or workshop where this project could be presented.



The RefPerSys software depends on many other common stuff, notably a recent GCC compiler for C++17 with its standard library, a recent Linux kernel and C standard library (e.g. GNU glibc or Musl Libc), the JsonCPP library (for persistence) and the Qt graphical toolkit, and the libbacktrace library. A multi-core x86-64 Linux computer with more than 16Gbytes of RAM and at least 100Gbytes of free disk space is recommended.

download α-stage source code

The GPLv3+ licensed α-stage embryonic free software source code of RefPerSys is on Only the master branch is interesting. Other git branches are obsolete or might not even compile.
We practically are using git as a centralized version control system, because we are very few and sill don't understand well in 2019 or 2020 how a genuinely distributed version control system could play nice with a reflexive, orthogonally persistent, homoiconic, bootstrapped, self-generating Quine system.

Daily snapshot with source and binary

A daily snapshot is downloadable on refpersys-snapshot.tar.bz2. It is usually but not always automatically generated every day, so could be broken or very buggy. That bzip2 tar archive contains both source files, some log files of build, and binary ELF executable refpersys for Linux/x86-64. It is made in good faith, but could be very buggy and might do wrong things if you run that executable (daily built on Debian/Sid/x86-64). So use the refpersys executable in that snapshot, provided with no warranty, at your own risk.


A forum hosted in France by FramaSoft (a non-profit association) is available on Be polite and civil there. Only for public technical discussion in written English about implementation issues of RefPerSys (so no philosophical questions about AI). If you have issues in subscribing, contact by email.


The RefPerSys project needs more volunteers to contribute to it. We also need some public mailing list archive able to deal with HTML messages such as this one. At last, some team members are severely under-equiped and would welcome any 4 to 16 cores x86-64, Linux capable, working, PC with 32 gigabytes of RAM and at least a 240 Gb SSD disk. Contact for more.