Test Suite Reduction for Fault Detection and Localization: A Combined Approach

László Vidács, Árpád Beszédes, Dávid Tengeri, István Siket and Tibor Gyimóthy
The relation of test suites and actual faults in a software is of critical importance for timely product release. There are two particularily critical properties of test suites to this end: fault localization capability, to characterize the effort of finding the actually defective program elements, and fault detection capability which measures how probable is their manifestation and detection in the first place. While there are well established methods to predict fault detection capability (by measuring code coverage, for instance), characterization of fault localization is an emerging research topic. In this work, we investigate the effect of different test reduction methods on the performance of fault localization and detection techniques. We also provide new combined methods that incorporate both localization and detection aspects. We empirically evaluate the methods first by measuring detection and localization metrics of test suites with various reduction sizes, followed by how reduced test suites perform with actual faults. We experiment with SIR programs traditionally used in fault localization research, and extend the case study with large industrial software systems including GCC and WebKit.