A Practical System for Mutation Testing: Help for the Common Programmer

Twelfth International Conference on Testing Computer Software, pages 99--109, Washington, DC, June 1995.

Jeff Offutt


Mutation testing is a technique for unit testing software that, although powerful, is computationally expensive. Recent engineering advances have given us techniques and algorithms for significantly reducing the cost of mutation testing. These techniques include a new algorithmic execution technique called schema-based mutation, an approximation technique called weak mutation, a reduction technique called selective mutation, and algorithms for automatic test data generation. This paper outlines a design for a system that will approximate mutation, but in a way that will be accessible to everyday programmers. We envision a system to which a programmer can submit a program unit, and get back a set of input/output pairs that are guaranteed to form an effective test of the unit by being close to mutation adequate.

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