Publications in Scientific Journals:

S. Kandl, S. Chandrashekar:
"Reasonability of MC/DC for Safety-Relevant Software Implemented in Programming Languages with Short-Circuit Evaluation";
Computing, 607 (2014).

English abstract:
Modified condition/decision coverage (MC/DC) is a structural code coverage metric, originally defined in the standard DO-178B, intended to be an efficient coverage metric for the evaluation of the testing process of software incorporating decisions with complex Boolean expressions. The upcoming standard ISO 26262 for safety-relevant automotive systems prescribes MC/DC for ASIL D as a highly recommended coverage metric. One assumed benefit of MC/DC is that it requires a much smaller number of test cases in comparison to multiple condition coverage (MCC), while sustaining a quite high error-detection probability. Programming languages like C, commonly used for implementing software for the automotive domain, are using short-circuit evaluation. For short-circuit evaluation the number of test cases for MCC is much smaller than in a non-short-circuit environment because many redundant test cases occur. We evaluated the trade-off between the number of test cases for MCC and MC/DC for a case study from the automotive domain and observed a very low overhead (only 5 %) for the number of test cases necessary for MCC compared to MC/DC. This motivated an analysis of programs containing decisions where the number and structure of the referring Boolean expressions vary. Our results show that the overhead for a test suite for MCC is on the average only about 35 % compared to MC/DC and the maximum overhead is approximately 100 % (for decisions with up to 5 conditions). This means that a test set for MCC is in the worst case around twice as big as a test set for MC/DC for a program with short-circuit evaluation with maximum 5 conditions. Considering the lower error-detection effectiveness of MC/DC compared to MCC, we conclude with the strong recommendation to use MCC as a coverage metric for testing safety-relevant software (with a limited number of conditions) implemented in programming languages with short-circuit evaluation.

Testing, Safety-relevant systems, Coverage, MC/DC, Error-detection rate

"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.