The Art of Software Testing: Refining the Testing Palette
Dr Mark Hadley
Principal Software Safety Consultant, Atkins
Dr Mike Standish
Senior Scientist, DSTL (Portsdown West)
‘It’s been over 40 years (1979) since Glenford Myers published his book on ‘The Art of Software Testing’. In 1980 the Commodore VIC-20 was released which was an 8-bit computer with 5kb of memory, but only 3.5kb was for programmable use. Today Multi-Core Processors (MCPs), with 64-bit processing, are now common place and some form of micro-processor or controller is in our everyday appliances. Cloud Computing, Digital Twins, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and autonomous systems are no longer science fiction but are here today and will increasingly be involved in our everyday lives. The complexity and size of these systems does not compare to a VIC-20, so why do we have complete confidence in the testing techniques which first appeared in the book by Myers?
This presentation provides a summary of the commonly applied techniques defined in Myers and now common within standards in the safety-critical domain, e.g. DO-178C, 61508 etc. We explore the effectiveness of some of these commonly applied techniques (especially when used in isolation) and highlight the lack of empirical evidence to underpin them. There are opportunities to be smarter in our approach and apply an engineering perspective when selecting the appropriate testing techniques. This should be based upon the system properties to provide the required level of confidence and rigor’.