Constructing test suites for interaction testing

Myra B. Cohen, Peter B. Gibbons, Warwick B. Mugridge, Charles Colbourn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

326 Scopus citations


Software system faults are often caused by unexpected interactions among components. Yet the size of a test suite required to test all possible combinations of interactions can be prohibitive in even a moderately sized project. Instead, we may use pairwise or t-way testing to provide a guarantee that all pairs or t-way combinations of components are tested together. This concept draws on methods used in statistical testing for manufacturing and has been extended to software system testing. A covering array, CA(N; t, k, v), is an N × k array on v symbols such that every N × t sub-array contains all ordered subsets from v symbols of size t at least once. The properties of these objects, however, do not necessarily satisfy real software testing needs. Instead we examine a less studied object, the mixed level covering array and propose a new object, the variable strength covering array, which provides a more robust environment for software interaction testing. Initial results are presented suggesting that heuristic search techniques are more effective than some of the known greedy methods for finding smaller sized test suites. We present a discussion of an integrated approach for finding covering arrays and discuss how application of these techniques can be used to construct variable strength arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2003
Event25th International Conference on Software Engineering - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: May 3 2003May 10 2003


Other25th International Conference on Software Engineering
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland, OR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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