Mainly Tech projects on Python and Electronic Design Automation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Regression Test Optimization/ It's My Data

When regression testing a large ASIC using constrained random test techniques (or directed tests for that matter), we collect coverage metrics on each seeded test and routinely rank, (or optimize), the tests to find out what randomly generated tests are 'significant'.

The usual meaning of significant is "what is the smallest set of tests that would give the same overall coverage". The tools don't try every combination of tests, (I have used a simple greedy algorithm). This got me thinking of what other ways I might want to calculate the test rankings.

I came up with two other ways of ranking tests that might be useful:
  1. File centred ranking: Using coverage results expressed on a per-source-file basis, extract the ranking of tests for full coverage of each source file individually; finally rank just the tests contributing to individual files on how they contribute to all files of the design.
  2. Instance centred ranking: Using coverage results expressed on a per-instance basis, extract the ranking of tests for full coverage of each instance individually; finally rank just the tests contributing to individual instances on how they contribute to all instances in the design.
(Lets call what we normally do, "Design centred ranking", as the ranking is looking at all the tests coverage of the whole design).

File and instance centred ranking leave behind useful information for the designers, what tests target parts of the design they are working on. I guess (because this is another thought experiment), that FCR and ICR would never give smaller ranked test lists than DCR.

All three of the above methods of ranking tests could do with flagging which tests provide sole coverage for a cover point. Some tests may cover points that other tests cover, other tests may cover points that only that test covers it might be useful to be able to show this information.

Its my Data


If the tool vendors supported an interface to Python, then data mining within your coverage results would be a lot simpler, and get us part way to the kind of environment Scientists use in SciPy. Expressing test coverage as Python sets, you could roll your own coverage processing.

1 comment:

  1. I've only got access to randomly generated coverage data at the mo' but I will try modifying my Python test ranker utility this coming week and see what pops out.

    - Paddy.

    ReplyDelete

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