Arcadia Papers: ABSTRACT

"An Analysis of Test Data Selection Criteria Using the RELAY Model of Fault Detection," by Debra J. Richardson and Margaret C. Thompson in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, SE-19(5):327-344, May 1993.


RELAY is a model of faults and failures that defines failure conditions, which describe test data for which execution will guarantee that a fault originates erroneous behavior that also transfers through computations and information flow until a failure is revealed. This model of fault detection provides a framework within which other testing criteria's capabilities can be evaluated. In this paper, we analyze three test data selection criteria that attempt to detect faults in six fault classes. This analysis shows that none of these criteria is capable of guaranteeing detection for these fault classes and points out two major weaknesses of these criteria. The first weakness is that the criteria do not consider the potential unsatisfiability of their rules; each criterion includes rules that are sufficient to cause potential failures for some fault classes, yet when such rules are unsatisfiable, many faults may remain undetected. Their second weakness is failure to integrate their proposed rules; although a criterion may cause a subexpression to take on an erroneous value, there is no effort made to guarantee that the intermediate values cause observable, erroneous behavior. This paper shows how the RELAY model overcomes these weaknesses.
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Last modified: Fri Nov 11 14:41:24 1994