Search-based approaches to software testing formulate testing as an optimisation problem, which can be attacked using computational search techniques from the field of Search Based Software Engineering (SBSE). Test objectives find natural counterparts as the fitness functions used by SBSE to guide automated search, thereby facilitating SBSE formulations of many and diverse testing problems. This talk, which is an updated version of Harman’s keynote at ICST 2015, will review achievements in Search Based Software Testing and will explore the question: “what could we do with software if software testing were to prove a sufficiently practical system equivalence relation?”. Recent work that makes these kinds of assumption has produced breakthroughs in genetic improvement and program transplantation.
Mark Harman is professor of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, where he directs the CREST centre and is Head of Software Systems Engineering. He is widely known for work on source code analysis and testing and co-founded the field of Search Based Software Engineering (SBSE), the topic of this talk. SBSE research has rapidly grown over the past five years and now includes over 1600 authors, from nearly 300 institutions spread over more than 40 countries.