Browse Prior Art Database

General Purpose Interactive System Evaluation Tool

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000086155D
Original Publication Date: 1976-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-03
Document File: 3 page(s) / 36K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Allen, CD: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

The general purpose interactive system evaluation tool (GPISET) tests interactive systems, i.e., those that accept inputs - usually brief commands - and give a brief output for each such input, while changing the state of the information held internally by the system.

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General Purpose Interactive System Evaluation Tool

The general purpose interactive system evaluation tool (GPISET) tests interactive systems, i.e., those that accept inputs - usually brief commands - and give a brief output for each such input, while changing the state of the information held internally by the system.

The testing consists of choosing each next input on the basis of information obtained up to the current point in the test, checking the resulting output and logging errors where they occur. In this way, new inputs can be made more relevant to the test where unexpected errors have occurred than is the case with predetermined sequences of inputs.

In use, GPISET requires an interface mechanism between it and the system under test, designed for the purpose in each particular case.

An interactive system can be described, wholly or in part, by the possible outputs and changes of state that may occur when each allowed input is given with the system in each of its internal states.

GPISET is given the description in the form of a table - the `theoretical machine description', and possibly information about the initial state of the system. Part of GPISET - the theoretical machine' - keeps a record of the possible current states of the system under test, and the theoretical machine description. It can thus compute possible expected outputs resulting from an input to the system and the possible new states that may result. (There may be more than one of either, if the system under test is not completely deterministic in its operation.)

A second part of GPISET - the `next input generator' or NIG - has access to the theoretical machine description and the possible current states. A program within the NIG can thus determine the allowed inputs to the system under test at any time, and the set of all possible next states which may thus be reached. The NIG program selects one of these states as being desirable, according to one or more of several possible criteria (such as the number of times a state has already been reached in the test, the number of distinct paths leading from that state, etc.).

The NIG program then determines which inputs will lead to that chosen state, and selects one of them at random. It also determines the corresponding output to be expected, and the set of next states that may be reached.

These input and outputs, taken from the theoretical machine description where they are held in abbreviated form, are passed to a third part of GPISET - the `complementary machine'. This part produces an actual allowable input to the system under test by expanding the abbreviated form given to it and inserting additional parameters where appropriate. Thus the complementary machine is given, before the test, information concerning the full meaning of the abbreviations.

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The complementary machine also holds a list of outputs from the system under test which are intended as prompts to the user requesting further infor...