Broadening the Search in Search-Based Software Testing: It Need Not Be Evolutionary
by R. Feldt and S. Poulding
Search-based software testing (SBST) can potentially help software practitioners create better test suites using less time and resources by employing powerful methods for search and optimization. However, research on SBST has typically focused on only a few search approaches and basic techniques. A majority of publications in recent years use some form of evolutionary search, typically a genetic algorithm, or, alternatively, some other optimization algorithm inspired from nature. This paper argues that SBST researchers and practitioners should not restrict themselves to a limited choice of search algorithms or approaches to optimization. To support our argument we empirically investigate three alternatives and compare them to the de facto SBST standards in regards to performance, resource efficiency and robustness on different test data generation problems: classic algorithms from the optimization literature, bayesian optimization with gaussian processes from machine learning, and nested monte carlo search from game playing / reinforcement learning. In all cases we show comparable and sometimes better performance than the current state-of-the-SBST-art. We conclude that SBST researchers should consider a more general set of solution approaches, more consider combinations and hybrid solutions and look to other areas for how to develop the field.


  author =    "Robert Feldt and Simon Poulding",
  title =     "Broadening the Search in Search-Based Software Testing: It Need Not Be Evolutionary",
  year =      "2015",
  pages =     "",
  booktitle = "Search-based Software Testing (SBST), 2015 IEEE Eigth Int. Workshop on",
  organization = "IEEE",
  url =       "",
  keywords =  "Software testing, Test data generation, Search-based software testing"