Using Metamorphic Testing at Runtime to Detect Defects in Applications without Test Oracles

Murphy, Christian

First, we will present an approach called Automated Metamorphic System Testing. This will involve automating system-level metamorphic testing by treating the application as a black box and checking that the metamorphic properties of the entire application hold after execution. This will allow for metamorphic testing to be conducted in the production environment without affecting the user, and will not require the tester to have access to the source code. The tests do not require an oracle upon their creation; rather, the metamorphic properties act as built-in test oracles. We will also introduce an implementation framework called Amsterdam. Second, we will present a new type of testing called Metamorphic Runtime Checking. This involves the execution of metamorphic tests from within the application, i.e., the application launches its own tests, within its current context. The tests execute within the application's current state, and in particular check a function's metamorphic properties. We will also present a system called Columbus that supports the execution of the Metamorphic Runtime Checking from within the context of the running application. Like Amsterdam, it will conduct the tests with acceptable performance overhead, and will ensure that the execution of the tests does not affect the state of the original application process from the users' perspective; however, the implementation of Columbus will be more challenging in that it will require more sophisticated mechanisms for conducting the tests without pre-empting the rest of the application, and for comparing the results which may conceivably be in different processes or environments. Third, we will describe a set of metamorphic testing guidelines that can be followed to assist in the formulation and specification of metamorphic properties that can be used with the above approaches. These will categorize the different types of properties exhibited by many applications in the domain of machine learning and data mining in particular (as a result of the types of applications we will investigate), but we will demonstrate that they are also generalizable to other domains as well. This set of guidelines will also correlate to the different types of defects that we expect the approaches will be able to find.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-056-08
Published Here
April 26, 2011