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Software fault interactions and implications for software testing

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3 Author(s)
Kuhn, D.R. ; Nat. Inst. of Stand. & Technol., Gaithersburg, MD, USA ; Wallace, D.R. ; Gallo, A.M., Jr.

Exhaustive testing of computer software is intractable, but empirical studies of software failures suggest that testing can in some cases be effectively exhaustive. We show that software failures in a variety of domains were caused by combinations of relatively few conditions. These results have important implications for testing. If all faults in a system can be triggered by a combination of n or fewer parameters, then testing all n-tuples of parameters is effectively equivalent to exhaustive testing, if software behavior is not dependent on complex event sequences and variables have a small set of discrete values.

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Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 6 )