Capture-recapture in Software Unit Testing - A Case Study

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Hanna Scott, Claes Wohlin
Title: Capture-recapture in Software Unit Testing - A Case Study
Conference name: Proceedings of the Second ACM-IEEE international symposium on Empirical software engineering and measurement
Year: 2008
Pagination: 32-40
ISBN: 978-1-59593-971-5
Publisher: ACM
City: Kaiserslautern, Germany
URI/DOI: 10.1145/1414004.1414012
ISI number: 000266371500004
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. of Systems and Software Engineering (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för programvarusystem)
School of Engineering S- 372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: Quantitative failure estimates for software systems are traditionally made at end of testing using software reliability growth modeling. A persistent problem with most kinds of failure estimation methods and models is the dependency on historical data. This paper presents a method for estimating the total amount of failures possible to provoke from a unit, without historical data dependency. The method combines the results from having several developers testing the same unit with capture-recapture models to create an estimate of “remaining” number of failures. The evaluation of the approach consists of two steps: first a pre-study where the tools and methods are tested in a large open source project, followed by an add-on to a project at a medium sized software company. The evaluation was a success. An estimate was created, and it can be used both as a quality gatekeeper for units and input to functional and system testing.
Subject: Software Engineering\General
Keywords: Unit testing, component testing, capture-recapture