Munich, June 29, 2011 – In a joint effort, the consultant and software developer Berner & Mattner and the Centre for Research on Evolution, Search and Testing (CREST) of the University College London (UCL) are developing methods for the evolutionary generation of test scenarios for the automotive industry.
For processes that are controlled by embedded systems, more and more software is needed in vehicles that has to be put through its paces in order to ensure safety and reliability. In a modern car, this software often contains more than ten million lines of software code. The difficulty is to define meaningful tests to eliminate as many potential failure causes as possible already in the software test phase. Berner & Mattner was already involved in the fundamental research within the European EvoTest project and is now working together with UCL CREST to further develop the technology for industrial applications. A predominant goal of evolutionary testing is to automatically select the most demanding test scenarios.
Professor Mark Harman, director of the UCL CREST, comments: "Using Darwin's theory of evolution, we can generate exceptionally demanding test cases. We create a virtual world in which car testing scenarios have to compete with one another. In this world of test scenarios, a test case has to be demanding in order to survive. This survival of the fittest has the effect of generating especially interesting test cases to be used in testing the automotive software."
Dr. Joachim Wegener of Berner & Mattner explains the economic importance of the project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK: "Testing is one of the most costly activities within the development of embedded systems. Search-based testing techniques have the potential to fully automate the testing of embedded systems. This will allow for significant cost savings and increased product quality. Our cooperation with UCL is aimed at further developing these technologies for a regular usage in industrial practice."
Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. Alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf, Alexander Graham Bell, and members of the band Coldplay. UCL currently has over 13,000 undergraduate and 9,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £700 million.
The CREST centre at UCL builds on the three foundations of Program Dependence, Information Theory and Optimisation Algorithms. On these three foundations we develop ways to analyse, understand and improve software, with applications throughout the spectrum of software development activities. We are widely known for our work on Empirical Software Engineering, Evolutionary Computation, Code Provenance, Quantified Information Flow, Security, Software Testing, Program Slicing and Search Based Software Engineering. Like other centres at UCL, the CREST Centre is truly multidisciplinary; we apply our algorithms and methods to the analysis and improvement of Digital Humanities and the Arts from which our work of Software Engineering also draws inspiration.