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Exploring Test Overlap in System Integration: An Industrial Case Study

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


42nd Euromicro Conference series on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications


Tougher safety regulations, global competition and ever increasing complexity of embedded software puts extensive pressure on the effectiveness of the software testing procedures. Previous studies have found that there exist overlaps (i.e., multiple instances of highly similar test cases) and even redundancies in the software testing process. Such overlap has been found between versions, variants and integration levels, but primarily at unit test level. Given large embedded systems involving many subsystems, does overlap exist within the system integration testing as well? In this paper, we present an industrial case study, aiming to a) evaluate if there exist test overlaps within the given context, b) if so, investigate how these overlaps are distributed, and c) find ways of reducing test effort by investigating how the knowledge of overlaps and their distribution may be used for finding candidate test cases for automation, maintenance or even removal. We have studied manual test cases, written in natural language, at a large vehicular manufacturer in Sweden. In particular, we have collected and analyzed test cases from the system integration testing levels of four different projects of a vehicle control management system. Using a similarity function, we evaluate if any overlaps between test cases exist, and where. We found that overlaps do exist within the system integration level, particularly in the form of partial test step sequences. However, very few test cases overlapped in their entirety. Some candidates for test step automation and update propagation were identified, but none for easy removal.


author = {Daniel Flemstr{\"o}m and Wasif Afzal and Daniel Sundmark},
title = {Exploring Test Overlap in System Integration: An Industrial Case Study},
month = {August},
year = {2016},
booktitle = {42nd Euromicro Conference series on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications },
url = {}