Feedback-controlled random test generation

Kohsuke Yatoh, Kazunori Sakamoto, Fuyuki Ishikawa, Shinichi Honiden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)


Feedback-directed random test generation is a widely used technique to generate random method sequences. It leverages feedback to guide generation. However, the validity of feedback guidance has not been challenged yet. In this paper, we investigate the characteristics of feedback-directed random test generation and propose a method that exploits the obtained knowledge that excessive feedback limits the diversity of tests. First, we show that the feedback loop of feedback-directed generation algorithm is a positive feedback loop and amplifies the bias that emerges in the candidate value pool. This over-directs the generation and limits the diversity of generated tests. Thus, limiting the amount of feedback can improve diversity and effectiveness of generated tests. Second, we propose a method named feedbackcontrolled random test generation, which aggressively controls the feedback in order to promote diversity of generated tests. Experiments on eight different, real-world application libraries indicate that our method increases branch coverage by 78% to 204% over the original feedback-directed algorithm on large-scale utility libraries. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450336208
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 13
Externally publishedYes
Event24th International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2015 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 2015 Jul 132015 Jul 17


Other24th International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Diversity
  • Random testing
  • Test generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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