A Test-suite Diagnosability Metric for Spectrum-based Fault Localization Approaches

Alexandre Perez, Rui Abreu, Arie van Deursen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)


Current metrics for assessing the adequacy of a test- suite plainly focus on the number of components (be it lines, branches, paths) covered by the suite, but do not explicitly check how the tests actually exercise these components and whether they provide enough information so that spectrum-based fault localization techniques can perform accurate fault isolation. We propose a metric, called DDU, aimed at complementing adequacy measurements by quantifying a test-suite’s diagnosability, i.e., the effectiveness of applying spectrum-based fault localization to pinpoint faults in the code in the event of test failures. Our aim is to increase the value generated by creating thorough test-suites, so they are not only regarded as error detection mechanisms but also as effective diagnostic aids that help widely-used fault- localization techniques to accurately pinpoint the location of bugs in the system. Our experiments show that optimizing a test suite with respect to DDU yields a 34% gain in spectrum-based fault localization report accuracy when compared to the standard branch-coverage metric.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 39th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE)
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-3868-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventICSE 2017: 39th International Conference on Software Engineering - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 20 May 201728 May 2017
Conference number: 39


ConferenceICSE 2017
CityBuenos Aires
Internet address


  • Testing
  • Coverage
  • Diagnosability


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