Speaker: Alexander Pretschner

Title: Defect-Based Testing

Date/Time: March 6th, 11am

Location: Room 1602, Nguyen Engineering Building

Abstract: What’s a good test case? Text book, practice and intuition suggest: one that reveals a fault. But the thought experiment of a perfect program shows the deficiency of this definition - in this case, there would not be any good
test cases. A more adequate definition is that a good test case reveals likely potential faults with good cost effectiveness. The model-based testing community tends to answer this question in one of two ways: good test cases are defined by coverage (because we can) and by explicit test purposes (because we sense that there must be more, but others should do the work). In this talk, we argue why coverage-based testing is inherently problematic, if not useless, and propose to complement explicit test purposes by fault and failure models. These encode what typically goes wrong in a specific domain, technology, company, or application family, and describe what can potentially go wrong, thus catering to the above definition of good test cases. We discuss the nature of potential faults, formalize them, provide examples, and discuss their operationalization for test case generation also outside the domain of model-based testing.

Bio: Alexander Pretschner is a full professor of computer science at Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Research interests include software engineering, specifically testing; and information security, specifically distributed data usage control. Prior appointments include a full professorship at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; an adjunct associate professorship at TU Kaiserslautern; a group management position at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering in Kaiserslautern; guest professorships at the universities of Rennes, Trento, and Innsbruck; and a senior researcher's position at ETH Zurich. PhD degree from Technische Universitaet Muenchen; Master's degrees from Kansas University, on a Fulbright scholarship, and from RWTH Aachen.  Recent awards include two IBM faculty awards, a Google focused research award, and a Fraunhofer Attract award. Member of the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Secure and Dependable Computing, the Journal of Software Testing, Verification, and Reliability, and the Journal of Software Systems Modeling; membership in numerous program committees; organization of ca. 25 symposia; frequent invited speaker; frequent reviewer for national and international funding agencies as well as hiring committees.

Host: Jeff Offutt