Integrated Framework for Fault Detection and Test Algebra for Combinatorial Testing


Combinatorial testing (CT) is a process of testing every possible set of input parameters for a software program to determine if there are any unexpected issues that need to be fixed. Complex software uses multiple inputs, making the CT process slow and cumbersome. As the number of input parameters increases, there is an exponential increase in the complexity of testing each input. Typical CT techniques are unable to determine exactly which configuration fails and what interactions are faulty because they only test the interaction of input parameters with the software. Therefore, a more efficient method of testing input parameters and their interactions with the software.

Researchers at Arizona State University have invented a new approach to CT using adaptive reasoning and test algebra. Adaptive reasoning techniques are able to identify software faults more quickly than standard CT techniques. Once faults are identified, test algebra is used to eliminate related configurations of input parameters. Combining adaptive reasoning and test algebra techniques enables CPU-intensive CT applications which were previously infeasible due to size. This innovation is able to identify both faulty interactions between input parameters and software and faulty configurations of the input parameters themselves.

Potential Applications

  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
  • Testing-as-a-service (TaaS)
  • Cloud-based computing

Benefits and Advantages

  • Scalability – Program can be adjusted to any number or combination of input parameters. Speed – CT process is sped up by eliminating duplicate tests of the same fault.
  • Specificity – Find faulty configurations of input parameters and faulty interactions between input parameters and software.

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For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see

Dr. Wei-Tek Tsai's directory webpage

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