Office: Rice Hall 206
Office Hours: TBD
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30PM - 1:45PM, Thornton Hall E303
Software is everywhere. Software defines behavior of services such as
financial engines, transportation and control systems, and medical services.
Software is an essential component of embedded applications such as
airplanes, spaceships, cars,
household appliances, and mobile phones.
Society's reliance on software applications
places a high demand on their reliability;
knowledge of software testing is becoming necessary
for all software developers and software engineers.
Although many factors affect the engineering of reliable software,
including careful design and sound process management,
testing is the primary way industry evaluates software during development.
Testing is the most time consuming and expensive part of software development.
Not testing is even more expensive.
Inappropriate or inadequate testing can cause unexpected behavior,
catastrophic software failure, monetary loss, and loss of life.
This course will help you see
how you can easily apply the concepts to any software testing situation
how testing is more efficient and effective by using
a classical engineering approach.
This course presents the concepts and techniques for testing software and assuring its quality.
Topics cover software testing at the unit, module, subsystem, and system levels,
automatic and manual techniques for generating and validating test data,
the testing process, static vs. dynamic analysis, functional testing, inspections,
web application testing, and reliability assessment.
Over the semester, you will learn when, where,
and how to test software appropriately and effectively and
have hands-on experience with test generation and test automation.
Everyone can be successful in this course and my hope is that
developing an understanding of the field
of software testing will have positive impact on your
Knowledge of quantitative, technical,
practical methods that software engineers and developers
can use to test their software
Testing techniques and criteria for all phases of
software development - unit (developer) testing,
integration testing, system testing, etc.
Theoretical and practical knowledge of how to apply test criteria
to improve the quality of software
Understanding of best quantitative programming and
design practices for ensuring software can be
efficiently and effectively modified and tested
Understanding that maintainability and testability
are more important than efficiency for almost
all modern software projects
This course has two closely related themes.
First, more than half the effort in software development is devoted to
activities related to testing,
including test design, execution and evaluation.
In this course, you will learn quantitative, technical, practical methods
that software engineers and developers can use to test their software,
both during and at the end of development.
more than half of software development effort is not new development,
but maintenance activities such as
adding new features,
migrating to new platforms,
and integrating third-party components into new projects.
These two themes are intertwined because much of the effort during
maintenance is testing the changes,
and much of the effort in testing is about
This course covers these two themes quantitatively,
with a solid basis in theory
and with practical applications.
These topics will be useful to strong programmers
in the Computer Science program,
as well as engineers,
who regularly integrate software components as part of their work.
The topic of this course is of interest to and accessible to
students in a wide variety of specializations.
We will generate tests from mathematical models of the software.
You will need knowledge of discrete math (sets, graphs, logic, and grammars), programming,
data representation, and general knowledge of software engineering.
You will need an understanding of the syntax and semantics of multiple programming languages.
Most examples will be in Java and some assignments will require automated tests.
Programming skills are required and you are expected to know Java or learn on your own.
Required: Introduction to Software Testing
(2nd edition), Paul Ammann and Jeff Offutt, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Where appropriate, additional references that can be relevant for further reading will be provided.
You are expected to read the relevant material
(from the text, various sources on the web,
and transparencies that will be made available on the website).
You will understand the lectures much better if you read the material
The lectures may not cover everything in the readings and
will often include material not found in the readings.
To facilitate your learning process,
the course structure consists of five main activities:
in-class exercises, homework assignments, showcase, quizzes, and final exam.
1. In-class exercises
Three main purposes of this activity are to help you to
(i) understand the underlying concepts and apply them
to test software,
(ii) introduce specific concepts, technologies, tools and frameworks, and
(iii) get ready to work on homework assignments.
You are encouraged to work in small groups,
allowing peer learning and
imitating industrial software development and quality assurance scenarios.
Each exercise is designed to get you to think
about some specific aspect of the material we are learning that day.
Throughout the course,
you will have multiple opportunities to explore
test generation tools and test automation frameworks and
share your opinion through discussion and writing.
At the end of some classes, we will have a "five-minute paper."
You will be asked to respond in written form to
a simple question related to the day's discussion.
This is to help you to assess your understanding and
allow me to clarify any doubts you might have.
We will do in-class exercises during most Thursdays and some Tuesdays.
Most will be done in small groups and a few may be individual exercises.
They will be graded on a "done / not done" basis.
Credit can only be received if done in class,
although if you miss class,
you should do the posted exercise on your own to learn the material.
You are allowed to miss up to two (out of twelve) in-class exercises.
The 10 in-class exercises will be used to calculate the final grade.
2. Homework assignments
Homework assignments are the main mechanism to help you learn
the fundamentals, apply the concepts, and experience the software testing process.
Some homework assignments will be written
and some will require programming.
Most will allow collaboration with one partner.
Assignments will be posted on the class website
before class and discussed in class.
Some homework assignments will be submitted on paper in class.
Others must be submitted to
More details on submission guidelines will be provided on the assignment pages.
Because each homework helps you develop competency in basic and advanced concepts,
it is important that you manage your time wisely.
All homework assignments must be submitted before class
on the day they are due.
Any submission received after this time will be considered to be
If you finish an assignment late,
inform us (instructor and TAs) by email
when it is ready to be graded.
Changing an assignment after the due date without prior permission
will be treated as a late submission.
You are expected to have a backup disk (or storage somewhere)
for every assignment you turn in.
In this way, if there is any problem with the copy
that is handed in the backup can be used for grading purposes.
A showcase will provide you the opportunity to explore and experience
software testing in practice. There are three options,
please choose only one
(1) test generation project — to provide you the opportunity to design
and automate tests for a software project,
(2) position paper — to expose you to advanced topics and
challenges in software testing and give you the opportunity
to learn more about an area of your interest,
(3) digital media —
to produce a 5 minute video
to your peers your mastery of concepts in software testing.
You may work on the showcase individually or with
Descriptions will be provided on the showcase page.
We will have weekly quizzes and no midterm exam.
The goals of the quizzes are to reinforce the concepts
in recent classes and assess your understanding
of recent topics/skills.
This also gives me an opportunity to work with you
on any particular topics/skills that can be improved.
Quizzes will generally cover material from previous classes.
They will be given during the first 10-15 minutes of class on
most Tuesdays and some Thursdays
and no makeup or late quizzes will be given
You are allowed to miss up to two (out of twelve) quizzes;
the lowest two quiz grades will be dropped.
The 10 quizzes with the highest scores will be used
to calculate the final grade.
5. Final Exam
Final exam is comprehensive, closed book/notes/web, in class.
The only exception is a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper
(single/double sided, single/double spaces, your choice)
with hand-written or typed notes by the person taking the exam.
Appropriate documentation (as determined by instructor)
and requisite permissions (approved by the Dean's Office, in particular)
are required for make-up exam requests.
Picture IDs are required to take all exams.
If you know in advance that you are unable to make an exam
for a valid and unavoidable reason (such as a scheduled surgery, etc),
you must notify me at least one week before the scheduled exam date
to make arrangements for a make-up,
and bring documentation with you when you take the make-up.
If you miss an exam due to a university-accepted excused absence
(such as an illness or car accident the day and time of the exam),
you must notify me within 24 hours of your absence
to make arrangements for a makeup,
and bring approved documentation with you
when you take the make-up exam.
Failure to follow either of these policies will result
in a zero grade on the exam.
The grade you will earn for this course will be based on
how well you demonstrate your learning.
- In-class exercises: 20% (lowest 2 will be dropped, no makeups)
- Homework assignments: 20%
- Showcase: 10% (choose one of the three options)
- Quizzes: 30% (lowest 2 will be dropped, no makeups)
- Final exam: 20% (comprehensive)
Your overall score will be mapped to a letter grade as follows:
|A+ ||>= 98|
|A ||>= 93|
|A- ||>= 90|
|B+ ||>= 87|
|B ||>= 83|
|B- ||>= 80|
|C+ ||>= 77|
|C ||>= 73|
|C- ||>= 70|
|D+ ||>= 67|
|D ||>= 63|
|D- ||>= 60|
|F ||< 60|
By default, grades will not be rounded in this course
We will use Piazza for a discussion board.
In addition to in-person assistance,
this is the place where you can seek help, offer help,
share your thoughts and discoveries,
or discuss technical difficulties and potential troubleshooting.
Information for accessing our class Piazza site will be provided
on the first day of class.
Ask all technical questions about the material or the assignments on Piazza.
You may post any reasonable class-related topics.
- Real-life software failures:
Start a discussion about a real-life software failure.
Tell us what happened and how it affected users.
Describe how one of the ideas from our testing class could have found
a real-life software failure before the software was released.
- Start a thread about an error in the handouts or slides,
or about a topic that goes beyond what we discuss in class.
- Post questions to an appropriate thread and
they will be answered by instructor, TAs, or classmates.
- Give an answer to a classmate's question
Updates to the course web page will generally be noted on the Piazza page.
You are allowed to work on homeworks
collaboratively using one of two models:
Collaborate while analyzing the problem and developing
an answer or solution,
then develop the final solution independently.
In this model, each person will turn in a separate document.
The submissions must include a section that
lists everybody you worked with and
what each person contributed.
You can work with as many classmates as you like with this model,
but only other students in this course this semester.
Collaborate from start to finish with at most
two other students in this course.
You must submit one solution and each person will get the same grade.
The submission must outline
what each person contributed.
: You are NOT ALLOWED
to include "guest names."
Every person listed as a collaborator must contribute.
If someone is listed as a collaborator but did not contribute,
all will receive a zero grade.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science relies upon
and cherishes its community of trust.
We firmly endorse, uphold, and embrace the University’s Honor principle
that students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those
who do. We recognize that even one honor infraction can destroy
an exemplary reputation that has taken years to build.
Acting in a manner consistent with the principles of honor will benefit
every member of the community both while enrolled in the Engineering School
and in the future.
Students are expected to be familiar with the university honor code,
including the section on
Each assignment will describe allowed collaborations,
and deviations from these will be considered Honor violations.
If you are in doubt regarding the requirements,
please consult with me before you complete any requirement of this course.
Unless otherwise noted,
exams and individual assignments will be considered pledged
that you have neither given nor received help.
(Among other things, this means that you are not allowed to describe
problems on an exam to a student who has not taken it yet.
You are not allowed to show exam papers to another student
or view another student’s exam papers while working on an exam.)
Send, receiving or otherwise copying electronic files
that are part of course assignments are not allowed collaborations
(except for those explicitly allowed in assignment instructions).
Assignments or exams where honor infractions or
prohibited collaborations occur will receive a zero grade
for that entire assignment or exam.
Such infractions will also be submitted to the Honor Committee
if that is appropriate.
Students who have had prohibited collaborations
may not be allowed to work with partners on remaining homeworks.
SDAC and Other Special Circumstances
If you have been identified as an SDAC student,
please let the Center know you are taking this class.
If you suspect you should be an SDAC student,
please schedule an appointment with them for an evaluation.
Students who need academic accommodations should see me and contact the
All academic accommodations must be arranged through the SDAC.
If you have other special circumstances
(athletics, other university-related activities, etc.)
please contact instructor and/or TA
as soon as you know these may affect you in class.