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Software Testing: Concepts and Operations by Fairouz Tchier, Ali Mili

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5 Program Correctness and Verification

This being a book on software testing, one may wonder why we need to talk about program correctness. There are several reasons and some of them are as follows:

  • The focus of software testing is to run the candidate program on selected input data and check whether the program behaves correctly with respect to its specification. The behavior of the program can be analyzed only if we know what is a correct behavior; hence the study of correctness is an integral part of software testing.
  • The study of program correctness leads to analyze candidate programs at arbitrary levels of granularity; in particular, it leads to make assumptions on the behavior of the program at specific stages in its execution and to verify (or disprove) these assumptions; the same assumptions can be checked at run-time during testing, giving us valuable information as we try to diagnose the program or establish its correctness. Hence the skills that we develop as we try to prove program correctness enable us to be better/more effective testers.
  • It is common for program testers and program provers to make polite statements about testing and proving being complementary and then to assiduously ignore each other (each other’s methods). But there is more to complementarity than meets the eye. Very often, what makes a testing method or a proving method ineffective is not an intrinsic attribute of the method, but rather the fact that the method is used against the wrong ...

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