Combinatorial methods can reduce costs for software testing, and have significant applications in software engineering:
Combinatorial or t-way testing is a proven method for more effective testing at lower cost. The key insight underlying its effectiveness resulted from a series of studies by NIST from 1999 to 2004. NIST research showed that most software bugs and failures are caused by one or two parameters, with progressively fewer by three or more, which means that combinatorial testing can provide more efficient fault detection than conventional methods. Multiple studies have shown fault detection equal to exhaustive testing with a 20X to 700X reduction in test set size. New algorithms compressing combinations into a small number of tests have made this method practical for industrial use, providing better testing at lower cost. See articles on high assurance software testing or security and reliability.
For more information regarding the Combinatorial Testing, please visit the Computer Security Resource Center (CSRC)..