An experimental study of cost cognizant test case prioritization Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/p8418q528

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  • Test case prioritization techniques schedule test cases for regression testing in an order that increases their ability to meet some performance goal. One performance goal, rate of fault detection, measures how quickly faults are detected within the testing process. The APFD metric had been proposed for measuring the rate of fault detection. This metric applies, however, only in cases in which test costs and fault costs are uniform. In practice, fault costs and test costs are not uniform. For example, some faults which lead to system failures might be more costly than faults which lead to minor errors. Similarly, a test case that runs for several hours is much more costly than a test case that runs for a few seconds. Previous work has thus provided a second, metric APFD[subscript c], for measuring rate of fault detection, that incorporates test costs and fault costs. However, studies of this metric thus far have been limited to abstract distribution models of costs. These distribution models did not represent actual fault costs and test costs for software systems. In this thesis, we describe some practical ways to estimate real fault costs and test costs for software systems, based on operational profiles and test execution timings. Further we define some new cost-cognizant prioritization techniques which focus on the APFD[subscript c] metric. We report results of an empirical study investigating the rate of "units-of-fault-cost-detected-per-unit-test-cost" across various cost-cognizant prioritization techniques and tradeoffs between techniques. The results of our empirical study indicate that cost-cognizant test case prioritization techniques can substantially improve the rate of fault detection of test suites. The results also provide insights into the tradeoffs among various prioritization techniques. For example: (1) techniques incorporating feedback information (information from previous tests) outperformed those without any feedback information; (2) technique effectiveness differed most when faults are relatively difficult to detect; (3) in most cases, technique performance was similar at function and statement level; (4) surprisingly, techniques considering change location did not perform as well as expected. The study also reveals several practical issues that might arise in applying test case prioritization, as well as opportunities for future work.
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