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Interaction testing (also called combinatorial testing) is an cost-effective test generation technique in software testing. Most research work focuses on finding effective approaches to build optimal t-way interaction test suites. However, the strength of different factor sets may not be consistent due to the practical test requirements. To solve this problem, a variable strength combinatorial object and several approaches based on it have been proposed. These approaches include simulated annealing (SA) and greedy algorithms. SA starts with a large randomly generated test suite and then uses a binary search process to find the optimal solution. Although this approach often generates the minimal test suites, it is time consuming. Greedy algorithms avoid this shortcoming but the size of generated test suites is usually not as small as SA. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to generate variable strength interaction test suites (VSITs). In our approach, we adopt a one-test-at-a-time strategy to build final test suites. To generate a single test, we adopt ant colony system (ACS) strategy, an effective variant of ant colony optimization (ACO). In order to successfully adopt ACS, we formulize the solution space, the cost function and several heuristic settings in this framework. We also apply our approach to some typical inputs. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our approach especially compared to greedy algorithms and several existing tools.
Date of Conference: 1-3 Dec. 2009