An Empirical Evaluation of Weak Mutation

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 20(5):337--344, May 1994.

Jeff Offutt and Stephen D. Lee.


Mutation testing is a fault-based technique for unit level software testing. Weak mutation was proposed as a way to reduce the expense of mutation testing. Unfortunately, weak mutation is also expected to provide a weaker test of the software than mutation testing does. This paper presents results from an implementation of weak mutation, which we used to evaluate the effectiveness versus the efficiency of weak mutation. Additionally, we examined several options in an attempt to find the most appropriate way to implement weak mutation. Our results indicate that weak mutation can be applied in a manner that is almost as effective as mutation testing, and with significant computational savings.

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