Exhaustive testing of computer software is intractable, but empirical studies of software failures suggest that testing can in some cases be effectively exhaustive. Data reported in this study and others show that software failures in a variety of domains were caused by combinations of relatively few conditions. These results have important implications for testing. If all faults in a system can be triggered by a combination of n or fewer parameters, then testing all n-tuples of parameters is effectively equivalent to exhaustive testing for variables with a small set of discrete values.
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
combinatorial testing, fault complexity, software assurance, software quality assurance, software testing