Overall Objectives

The objectives of the TAROT network are divided in two groups. On one hand, the following co-ordinated research activities objectives will be undertaken :

  • To strengthen and develop the collaboration and exchanges among major European research groups from different testing communities and domains.
  • To adjust activities to integrate various competencies taking advantage of the multidisciplinary character of participants, in particular in software and protocol testing.
  • To promote testing as a well-defined and important activity in education, research, software engineering and industry.
  • To promote the integration of different testing areas for stimulating the creation of open tools environments so that different test and development tools can be seamlessly connected.

In addition to the previous objectives, the following scientific objectives will be undertaken :

  • To unify the understanding of terms and concepts by the different testing communities.
  • To adapt languages for systems and test description to real systems requirements.
  • To study integrated testing methodologies to be applied to both software and communicating systems and determine best practices for industry.
  • To design and develop software tools and platforms for software and communicating systems validation.

Thus, one of the main activity lines of the project is to overcome the problem that different testing communities use different methods. Two testing communities can be identified : Testing of software and testing of communicating systems. Until very recently, research had been carried out with almost no interactions between these two communities although they have complementary know-how. So, there is an urgent need to co-ordinate research strategies and training of young researchers for finding a synthetis between the different techniques developed in isolation by each community.

Finally, it is anticipated that TAROT will breakthroughs in the three main areas :

  • TAROT will transfer test techniques and results regarding these techniques between the different testing communities. In particular, state-based testing techniques, developed for testing of communicating systems, will be adapted to the general software testing domain.
  • TAROT will extend current test techniques in order to overcome the test complexity that results from the validation of systems with a high degree of distribution and having real time constraints. Languages for the precise and unambiguous description of systems and tests, and model-based, automated or tool-supported, generation of test cases will be the main ingredients in mastering the complexity.
  • The training of engineers in state-of-the art test techniques will lead to these techniques being validated on real industrial systems.

Overall Approach and Methodology

in order to achieve the previous objectives, TAROT will follow three main lines of research.

  1. The first line is related to the study of languages for the description of systems and tests. This line will allow the exchange of experiences between the software and protocol testing communities in the use of formal languages such as B, Z, SDL, TTCN, UML and MSC.
  2. The second line concerns testing methodologies adapted to software and protocol testing. The definition of these methodologies will require studying different testing techniques, defining new testing architectures and adapting specific testing techniques such as, component, integration, and interoperability testing.
  3. The third line focuses on the application of these techniques in the industrial area. Best practices will be defined and new areas of application for wireless networks will be studied such as cellular telephony, WIFI and ad hoc networks technologies. This point will be illustrated by the development of platforms and applications on them.

These lines of research will be structured in five work packages. Each of these work packages is divided into several tasks. In this project we consider two big groups of tasks. On the one hand, we have those problems that, even though creativity plays an important role, can be considered as having a more mechanical or practical nature. Examples of these problems are the implementation of tools and platforms. On the other hand, one has to deal with some problems having a more theoretical nature. Examples of these problems are the definition of new testing architectures and/or conformance relations. It is obvious that different methodological approaches will be considered by taking into account the problem that is being dealt with. However, the project will also use some common links between practical and theoretical tasks.

Practical tasks need a more interactive working environment since large software systems are going to be build in parallel by several members belonging to different (and distant) participant institutions. Thus, it is very important that the communication between them be very fluid. The participant in charge of the task will be set up a common infrastructure so that the system under development can be implemented from remote locations and that inconsistencies due to different versions of the same component are avoided. The incremental construction of the software must be accompanied by the distribution of prototypes to the participants, so that they can give their opinion. In particular, they may ask for new features or for the modification of existing ones. Finally, it is clear that not all of the prototypes will be distributed to all of the participants. The project will use a numbering system x.yy. Thus, x.00 versions will be tried and tested by all the participants while intermediate versions will be tested only by the participants directly related to the development of this tool.

In contrast with practical tasks, theoretical ones will be developed in a more isolated way. Even though the results are expected to be useful for the project, assessments of partial results by members not directly related to the corresponding task will not be required. However, (semi-)final results will be presented to all the participants by means of the generated deliverables and by attending the workshops organised.

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