May: Automated Developer Testing: Achievements and Challenges

  • May 8, 2013 · 6:30 PM
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Developer testing, a common step in software development, involves generating sufficient test inputs and checking the behavior of the program under test during the execution of the test inputs.  Complicated logics inside a method make generating appropriate arguments difficult.  In testing object-oriented programs, generating method sequences to put the receiver object or argument objects into appropriate states further complicates test-input generation.  After the generated test inputs are executed, program crashes or uncaught exceptions can be used to indicate program problems, especially robustness problems.  However, some program problems such as producing wrong program outputs do not crash the program.


In this talk, the speaker will present an overview of achievements and challenges in improving automation in developer testing, especially on test-input generation (i.e., generating sufficient test inputs) and test oracles (i.e., checking the behavior of the program under test).



About the speaker:

Tao Xie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University.  He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 2005.  Before that, he received an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 2002, an M.S. in Computer Science from Peking University in 2000, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Fudan University in 1997.  He worked as a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond and Microsoft Research Asia.


His research interests are in software engineering, focusing on automated software testing and mining software engineering data.  He has published more than 100 research papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings in the area of software engineering.  Besides doing research, he has contributed to understanding the software engineering research community.


He has served as the ACM SIGSOFT History Liaison in the SIGSOFT Executive Committee as well as serving in the ACM History Committee.  He received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2009.  He received 2008, 2009, and 2010 IBM Faculty Awards and a 2008 IBM Jazz Innovation Award.  He received 2010 North Carolina State University Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award. He received the ASE 2009 Best Paper Award and an ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award.  He was Program Co-Chair of 2009 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM) and is Program Co-Chair of 2011 and 2012 International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR).

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  • Esther L.

    Enjoyable talk and good discussion!

    1 · May 9, 2013

  • Ryan

    Very informative meeting. Thank you Tao (Tony) for the topic and Melissa and Dan for hosting. Hopefully everyone had enough pizza, and salad. I look forward to attending the next one.

    3 · May 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks a lot for having me to present tonight! I enjoyed very much the interactions and conversations! I updated the slides: If you have interest in more details on, you could watch my recent Google Test Automation conference presentation video: and slides at As I mentioned, my former student Justin Gorham ( is working in the RTP area and may more often attend the meetup. Feel free to discuss with him in person besides contacting me via emails on the topic! Stay in touch!

    2 · May 8, 2013

  • Charles A J.

    Kudos to for the site, Robert Half co for the pizza, and the presenter

    3 · May 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    FYI, my talk slides tonight are at

    Talk to you soon!

    May 8, 2013

  • Julie

    Chris Collins from Duke IT and Seth Voorhies Keynote Systems will be joining. Me looking forward to it!

    2 · May 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm a SW tester; will this meeting help me understand automation from a SW testing perspective?

    April 30, 2013

    • Simon S.

      I'm expecting this talk to cover issues like the ones I tried to raise at the last meeting when I was asking about the value of (e.g.) a measurement showing 100% code coverage, when a failure path may require multiple methods to be called in a certain sequence, etc.

      May 2, 2013

    • Paul M.

      Simon - Sorry if I didn't fully cover your comment last time. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of my thinking on the value of code coverage: http://beaufortfairmo...­ Obviously, we're each entitled to our own thoughts on the issue... these are the the ones I've found productive and profitable for development teams over the years. Look forward to seeing you this evening and continuing the discussion over a drink!

      2 · May 8, 2013

  • Jason Craig Wilfred M.

    Wish I could make it

    4 · April 8, 2013

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