An Analysis of OO Mutation Operators

Seventh Workshop on Mutation Analysis (Mutation 2011), March 2011, Berlin, Germany

Jingyu Hu, Nan Li, and Jeff Offutt


This paper presents results from empirical studies using object-oriented, class-level mutation operators. Class mutation operators modify OO programming language features such as inheritance, polymorphism, dynamic binding and encapsulation. Most previous empirical studies of mutation operators used statement-level operators; this study asked questions about the static and dynamic nature of class-level mutation operators. Results include statistics on the various types of mutants, how many are equivalent, new rules for avoiding creation of equivalent mutants, the difficulty of killing individual mutants, and the difficulty of killing mutants from the various operators. The paper draws conclusions about which mutation operators are more or less useful, leading to recommendations about how future OO mutation systems should be built.

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