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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A metric-based theory of test selection and coverage for communication protocols Alilovic-Curgus, Jadranka

Abstract

A metric-based theory is developed that gives a solution to the problem of test selection and coverage evaluation for the control behaviour of network protocol implementations. The key idea is that a fast, completely automated process can uniformly cover the execution subspace of a network protocol control behaviour when characterized by appropriate metric functions, each concerned with some aspect of the protocol behaviour. Efficient systematic approximation of complex systems behaviours is a crucial problem in software testing. This thesis gives a theoretically sound and completely automated solution to the approximation problem for the control behaviour space of network protocols generated by many concurrent and highly recursive network connections. This objective is accomplished in a series of steps. First, a metric-based theory is developed which introduces a rigorous mathematical treatment of the discipline of testing, through the definition of testing distance, test coverage metrics, and metric-based test selection method. It involves a metric characterization of infinite trace sets of protocol behaviour within complete and totally bounded metric spaces, and captures approximations of different patterns of system behaviour due to recursion and parallelism. It is shown that classes of fault coverages of well known protocol test methods form a metric hierarchy within these metric spaces. Next, a general mathematical framework is developed for reasoning about the interoperability of communicating systems. An interoperability relation is obtained which gives a theoretical upper bound for the test selection process. The two threads are drawn together in a specific test selection algorithm, showing that the generation of arbitrarily dense sets of test sequences that approximate some original test suite to some target accuracy within the theoretical upper bound, is a convergent process. Finally, the theory itself is tested on the examples of a multi-media network protocol. It is shown that very high densities of selected sets and coverage calculation can be achieved within reasonable time limits in a completely automated manner. These results indicate that there is no practical impediment to applying rigorous theoretical treatment to the discipline of testing for the case of systems that derive their complexity from highly concurrent and recursive subprocesses.

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