The Theory of Composite Faults

Rahul Gopinath, Carlos Jensen, Alex Groce

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

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fault masking happens when the effect of one fault serves to mask that of another fault for particular test inputs. The coupling effect is relied upon by testing practitioners to ensure that fault masking is rare. It states that complex faults are coupled to simple faults in such a way that a test data set that detects all simple faults in a program will detect a high percentage of the complex faults. While this effect has been empirically evaluated, our theoretical understanding of the coupling effect is as yet incomplete. Wah proposed a theory of the coupling effect on finite bijective (or near bijective) functions with the same domain and co-domain and assuming a uniform distribution for candidate functions. This model, however, was criticized as being too simple to model real systems, as it did not account for differing domain and co-domain in real programs, or for the syntactic neighborhood. We propose a new theory of fault coupling for general functions (with certain constraints). We show that there are two kinds of fault interactions, of which only the weak interaction can be modeled by the theory of the coupling effect. The strong interaction can produce faults that are semantically different from the original faults. These faults should hence be considered as independent atomic faults. Our analysis shows that the theory holds even when the effect of the syntactic neighborhood of the program is considered. We analyze numerous real-world programs with real faults to validate our hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 10th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, ICST 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages47-57
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781509060313
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event10th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, ICST 2017 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: Mar 13 2017Mar 17 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - 10th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, ICST 2017

Conference

Conference10th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, ICST 2017
Country/TerritoryJapan
CityTokyo
Period3/13/173/17/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Software

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