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New metrics for prioritized interaction test suites

Huang, Rubing; Towey, Dave; Chen, Jinfu; Lu, Yansheng

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Rubing Huang

Dave Towey

Jinfu Chen

Yansheng Lu


Combinatorial interaction testing has been well studied in recent years, and has been widely applied in practice. It generally aims at generating an effective test suite (an interaction test suite) in order to identify faults that are caused by parameter interactions. Due to some constraints in practical applications (e.g. limited testing resources), for example in combinatorial interaction regression testing, prioritized interaction test suites (called interaction test sequences) are often employed. Consequently, many strategies have been proposed to guide the interaction test suite prioritization. It is, therefore, important to be able to evaluate the different interaction test sequences that have been created by different strategies. A well-known metric is the Average Percentage of Combinatorial Coverage (shortly APCC?), which assesses the rate of interaction coverage of a strength ? (level of interaction among parameters) covered by a given interaction test sequence S. However, APCC? has two drawbacks: firstly, it has two requirements (that all test cases in S be executed, and that all possible ?-wise parameter value combinations be covered by S); and secondly, it can only use a single strength ? (rather than multiple strengths) to evaluate the interaction test sequence - which means that it is not a comprehensive evaluation. To overcome the first drawback, we propose an enhanced metric Normalized APCC? (NAPCC) to replace the APCC? Additionally, to overcome the second drawback, we propose three new metrics: the Average Percentage of Strengths Satisfied (APSS); the Average Percentage of Weighted Multiple Interaction Coverage (APWMIC); and the Normalized APWMIC (NAPWMIC). These metrics comprehensively assess a given interaction test sequence by considering different interaction coverage at different strengths. Empirical studies show that the proposed metrics can be used to distinguish different interaction test sequences, and hence can be used to compare different test prioritization strategies.


Huang, R., Towey, D., Chen, J., & Lu, Y. (2014). New metrics for prioritized interaction test suites. IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, E97.D(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 3, 2013
Publication Date Apr 1, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 16, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 16, 2017
Journal IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems
Print ISSN 0916-8532
Electronic ISSN 1745-1361
Publisher Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume E97.D
Issue 4
Keywords combinatorial interaction testing; test case prioritization; prioritized interaction test suite (or interaction test sequence); interaction coverage; metrics
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Additional Information Copyright 2014 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers.


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