Automatic Test Data Generation : Who, When and Where ?

The past decade has seen enormous changes in how we develop and test software. Researchers have invented numerous techniques and criteria that are now mature enough to be ready for industrial use. During this time, the need for reliable software has grown enormously. The user base is expanding, technological advances put software into more mission-critical locations, software continues to grow in complexity, and secure software must be correct software. However, many of the strongest testing ideas invented by researchers have not yet been adopted by industry. In particular, one of the hardest problems in software testing is automatic generation of test inputs; a problem with many sophisticated solutions from the research community but for which industry tools only have primitive solutions.

This talk will discuss automatic test data generation in the context of the model-driven test design process, then discuss mismatches between testing in industry and techniques from the research community. The talk will discuss why industry needs to improve testing, explore some of the difficulties in transitioning testing research results to industrial use, and close with a description of practical, usable engineering tools that can incorporate many of the best ideas from testing researchers in pragmatic ways.


Professor of Software

Volgenau School of Information and Technology

George Mason University

Dr. Jeff Offutt is a Professor of Software Engineering at George Mason University. He leads research projects in software testing, analysis and testing of web applications, object-oriented program analysis and metrics, module and integration testing, and software maintenance. He has published over 110 refereed research papers in software engineering journals and conferences. Offutt is editor-in-chief of Wiley's journal of Software Testing, Verification and Reliability, the steering committee chair for the IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification, and Validation, on the editorial boards for several other journals, and program chair for ICST 2009. His book, Introduction to Software Testing with Paul Ammann, was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2008. Offutt received the PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a member of the ACM and IEEE Computer Society. He is on the technical board of advisers for Certess, Inc.