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An Empirical Study on Mutation, Statement and Branch Coverage Fault Revelation that Avoids the Unreliable Clean Program Assumption
Titcheu Chekam, Thierry; Papadakis, Mike; Le Traon, Yves et al.
2017In International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2017)
Peer reviewed
 

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Keywords :
Mutation testing; real faults; test adequacy; code coverage; test effectiveness
Abstract :
[en] Many studies suggest using coverage concepts, such as branch coverage, as the starting point of testing, while others as the most prominent test quality indicator. Yet the relationship between coverage and fault-revelation remains unknown, yielding uncertainty and controversy. Most previous studies rely on the Clean Program Assumption, that a test suite will obtain similar coverage for both faulty and fixed (‘clean’) program versions. This assumption may appear intuitive, especially for bugs that denote small semantic deviations. However, we present evidence that the Clean Program Assumption does not always hold, thereby raising a critical threat to the validity of previous results. We then conducted a study using a robust experimental methodology that avoids this threat to validity, from which our primary finding is that strong mutation testing has the highest fault revelation of four widely-used criteria. Our findings also revealed that fault revelation starts to increase significantly only once relatively high levels of coverage are attained.
Disciplines :
Computer science
Author, co-author :
Titcheu Chekam, Thierry ;  University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT)
Papadakis, Mike ;  University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT) > Computer Science and Communications Research Unit (CSC)
Le Traon, Yves ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Computer Science and Communications Research Unit (CSC)
Harman, Mark;  University College London - UCL and Facebook, London
External co-authors :
yes
Language :
English
Title :
An Empirical Study on Mutation, Statement and Branch Coverage Fault Revelation that Avoids the Unreliable Clean Program Assumption
Publication date :
28 May 2017
Event name :
39th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2017)
Event organizer :
IEEE ICSE 2017 organizing commitee
Event place :
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Event date :
May 20-28, 2017
Audience :
International
Main work title :
International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2017)
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
Focus Area :
Security, Reliability and Trust
Funders :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche [LU]
EPSRC Programme Grant DAASE (EP/J017515/1)
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