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Reliability of the Path Analysis Testing Strategy

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1 Author(s)
Howden, W.E. ; Department of Applied Physics and Information Science, University of Califomia

A set of test data T for a program P is reliable if it reveals that P contains an error whenever P is incorrect. If a set of tests T is reliable and P produces the correct output for each element of T then P is a correct program. Test data generation strategies are procedures for generating sets of test data. A testing strategy is reliable for a program P if it produces a reliable set of test data for P. It is proved that an effective testing strategy which is reliable for all programs cannot be constructed. A description of the path analysis testing strategy is presented. In the path analysis strategy data are generated which cause different paths in a program to be executed. A method for analyzing the reliability of path testing is introduced. The method is used to characterize certain classes of programs and program errors for which the path analysis strategy is reliable. Examples of published incorrect programs are included.

Published in:

Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:SE-2 ,  Issue: 3 )