University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center
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Matt Staats

Recent Publications

A flexible and non-intrusive approach for computing complex structural coverage metrics

Software analysis tools and techniques often leverage structural code coverage information to reason about the dynamic behavior of software. Existing techniques instrument the code with the required structural obligations and then monitor the execution of the compiled code to report coverage. Instrumentation based approaches often incur considerable runtime overhead for complex structural coverage metrics such as Modified Condition/Decision (\mcdc). Code instrumentation, in general, has to be approached with great care to ensure it does not modify the behavior of the original code.

Moving the Goalposts: Coverage Satisfaction is Not Enough

Structural coverage criteria have been proposed to measure the adequacy of testing efforts. Indeed, in some domains—e.g., critical systems areas—structural coverage criteria must be satisfied to achieve certification. The advent of powerful search-based test generation tools has given us the ability to generate test inputs to satisfy these structural coverage criteria. While tempting, recent empirical evidence indicates these tools should be used with caution, as

Observable Modified Condition/Decision Coverage

In many critical systems domains, test suite adequacy is currently measured using structural coverage metrics over the source code. Of particular interest is the modified condition/decision coverage (MC/DC) criterion required for, e.g., critical avionics systems. In previous investigations we have found that the efficacy of such test suites is highly dependent on the structure of the program under test and the choice of variables monitored by the oracle.

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