Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Computer and Security Science


Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Associate Professor C. Peng Lam


Software testing is one of the most widely used methods for quality assurance and fault detection purposes. However, it is one of the most expensive, tedious and time consuming activities in software development life cycle. Code-based and specification-based testing has been going on for almost four decades. Model-based testing (MBT) is a relatively new approach to software testing where the software models as opposed to other artifacts (i.e. source code) are used as primary source of test cases. Models are simplified representation of a software system and are cheaper to execute than the original or deployed system. The main objective of the research presented in this thesis is the development of a framework for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of test suites generated from UML models. It focuses on three activities: transformation of Activity Diagram (AD) model into Colored Petri Net (CPN) model, generation and evaluation of AD based test suite and optimization of AD based test suite. Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a de facto standard for software system analysis and design. UML models can be categorized into structural and behavioral models. AD is a behavioral type of UML model and since major revision in UML version 2.x it has a new Petri Nets like semantics. It has wide application scope including embedded, workflow and web-service systems. For this reason this thesis concentrates on AD models. Informal semantics of UML generally and AD specially is a major challenge in the development of UML based verification and validation tools. One solution to this challenge is transforming a UML model into an executable formal model. In the thesis, a three step transformation methodology is proposed for resolving ambiguities in an AD model and then transforming it into a CPN representation which is a well known formal language with extensive tool support. Test case generation is one of the most critical and labor intensive activities in testing processes. The flow oriented semantic of AD suits modeling both sequential and concurrent systems. The thesis presented a novel technique to generate test cases from AD using a stochastic algorithm. In order to determine if the generated test suite is adequate, two test suite adequacy analysis techniques based on structural coverage and mutation have been proposed. In terms of structural coverage, two separate coverage criteria are also proposed to evaluate the adequacy of the test suite from both perspectives, sequential and concurrent. Mutation analysis is a fault-based technique to determine if the test suite is adequate for detecting particular types of faults. Four categories of mutation operators are defined to seed specific faults into the mutant model. Another focus of thesis is to improve the test suite efficiency without compromising its effectiveness. One way of achieving this is identifying and removing the redundant test cases. It has been shown that the test suite minimization by removing redundant test cases is a combinatorial optimization problem. An evolutionary computation based test suite minimization technique is developed to address the test suite minimization problem and its performance is empirically compared with other well known heuristic algorithms. Additionally, statistical analysis is performed to characterize the fitness landscape of test suite minimization problems. The proposed test suite minimization solution is extended to include multi-objective minimization. As the redundancy is contextual, different criteria and their combination can significantly change the solution test suite. Therefore, the last part of the thesis describes an investigation into multi-objective test suite minimization and optimization algorithms. The proposed framework is demonstrated and evaluated using prototype tools and case study models. Empirical results have shown that the techniques developed within the framework are effective in model based test suite generation and optimization