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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Methodology for the Generation of Program Test Data (Revised)


A methodology for generating program test data is described. The methodology is a model of the test data generation process and can be used to characterize the basic problems of test data generation. It is well defined and can be used to build an automatic test data generation system.

The methodology decomposes a program into a finite set of classes of paths in such a way that an intuitively complete set of test cases would cause the execution of one path in each class. The test data generation problem is theoretically unsolvable: there is no algorithm which, given any class of paths, will generate a test case that causes sore path in that class to be followed. The methodology attempts to generate test data for as many of the classes of paths as possible. It operates by constructing descriptions of the input data subsets which cause the classes of paths to be followed. It transforms these descriptions into systems of predicates which it attempts to solve.

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