Issue No. 02 - June (1975 vol. 1)
John B. Goodenough , SofTech, Inc., Waltham, Mass. 02154
Susan L. Gerhart , SofTech, Inc., Waltham, Mass. 02154; Department of Computer Science, Duke University, Durham, N. C. 27706
This paper examines the theoretical and practical role of testing in software development. We prove a fundamental theorem showing that properly structured tests are capable of demonstrating the absence of errors in a program. The theorem's proof hinges on our definition of test reliability and validity, but its practical utility hinges on being able to show when a test is actually reliable. We explain what makes tests unreliable (for example, we show by example why testing all program statements, predicates, or paths is not usually sufficient to insure test reliability), and we outline a possible approach to developing reliable tests. We also show how the analysis required to define reliable tests can help in checking a program's design and specifications as well as in preventing and detecting implementation errors.
Testing, Reliability theory, Software reliability, Fasteners, Reliability engineering, Software, testing, Proofs of correctness
J. B. Goodenough and S. L. Gerhart, "Toward a theory of test data selection," in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 1, no. , pp. 156-173, 1975.