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  • 1.
    Afzal, Wasif
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology.
    Torkar, Richard
    Blekinge Institute of Technology.
    Feldt, Robert
    Blekinge Institute of Technology.
    A systematic review of search-based testing for non-functional system properties2009In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 51, no 6, p. 957-976Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Search-based software testing is the application of metaheuristic search techniques to generate software tests. The test adequacy criterion is transformed into a fitness function and a set of solutions in the search space are evaluated with respect to the fitness function using a metaheuristic search technique. The application of metaheuristic search techniques for testing is promising due to the fact that exhaustive testing is infeasible considering the size and complexity of software under test. Search-based software testing has been applied across the spectrum of test case design methods; this includes white-box (structural), black-box (functional) and grey-box (combination of structural and functional) testing. In addition, metaheuristic search techniques have also been applied to test non-functional properties. The overall objective of undertaking this systematic review is to examine existing work into non-functional search-based software testing (NFSBST). We are interested in types of non-functional testing targeted using metaheuristic search techniques, different fitness functions used in different types of search-based non-functional testing and challenges in the application of these techniques. The systematic review is based on a comprehensive set of 35 articles obtained after a multi-stage selection process and have been published in the time span 1996–2007. The results of the review show that metaheuristic search techniques have been applied for non-functional testing of execution time, quality of service, security, usability and safety. A variety of metaheuristic search techniques are found to be applicable for non-functional testing including simulated annealing, tabu search, genetic algorithms, ant colony methods, grammatical evolution, genetic programming (and its variants including linear genetic programming) and swarm intelligence methods. The review reports on different fitness functions used to guide the search for each of the categories of execution time, safety, usability, quality of service and security; along with a discussion of possible challenges in the application of metaheuristic search techniques.

  • 2.
    Ahmed, Bestoun
    et al.
    Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sullIntelligenza Artificiale (IDSIA), Switzerland.
    Gambardella, Luca
    Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sullIntelligenza Artificiale (IDSIA), Switzerland.
    Afzal, Wasif
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Zamli, Kamal
    University Malaysia Pahang, Gambang, Malaysia.
    Handling Constraints in Combinatorial Interaction Testing in the Presence of Multi Objective Particle Swarm and Multithreading2017In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 86, no 01, p. 20-36Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Combinatorial strategies have received a lot of attention lately as a result of their diverse applications in areas of research, particularly in software engineering. In its simple form, a combinatorial strategy can reduce several input parameters (configurations) of a system into a small set of these parameters based on their interaction (combination). However, in practice, the input configurations of software systems are subjected to constraints, especially highly configurable systems. To implement this feature within a strategy, many difficulties arise for construction. While there are many combinatorial interaction testing strategies nowadays, few of them support constraints. This paper presents a new strategy, called Octopus to construct a combinatorial interaction test suites with the presence of constraints. The design and algorithms are provided in the paper in detail. The strategy is inspired by the behaviour of octopus to search for the optimal solution using multi-threading mechanism. To overcome the multi judgement criteria for an optimal solution, the multi-objective particle swarm optimisation is used. The strategy and its algorithms are evaluated extensively using different benchmarks and comparisons. The evaluation results showed the efficiency of each algorithm in the strategy. The benchmarking results also showed that Octopus can generate test suites efficiently as compared to state-of-the-art strategies.

  • 3.
    Axelsson, Jakob
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Papatheocharous, E.
    Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS), Sweden.
    Andersson, J.
    Linneaus University, Sweden.
    Characteristics of software ecosystems for Federated Embedded Systems: A case study2014In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 56, no 11, p. 1457-1475Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context Traditionally, Embedded Systems (ES) are tightly linked to physical products, and closed both for communication to the surrounding world and to additions or modifications by third parties. New technical solutions are however emerging that allow addition of plug-in software, as well as external communication for both software installation and data exchange. These mechanisms in combination will allow for the construction of Federated Embedded Systems (FES). Expected benefits include the possibility of third-party actors developing add-on functionality; a shorter time to market for new functions; and the ability to upgrade existing products in the field. This will however require not only new technical solutions, but also a transformation of the software ecosystems for ES. Objective This paper aims at providing an initial characterization of the mechanisms that need to be present to make a FES ecosystem successful. This includes identification of the actors, the possible business models, the effects on product development processes, methods and tools, as well as on the product architecture. Method The research was carried out as an explorative case study based on interviews with 15 senior staff members at 9 companies related to ES that represent different roles in a future ecosystem for FES. The interview data was analyzed and the findings were mapped according to the Business Model Canvas (BMC). Results The findings from the study describe the main characteristics of a FES ecosystem, and identify the challenges for future research and practice. Conclusions The case study indicates that new actors exist in the FES ecosystem compared to a traditional supply chain, and that their roles and relations are redefined. The business models include new revenue streams and services, but also create the need for trade-offs between, e.g., openness and dependability in the architecture, as well as new ways of working. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  • 4.
    Cavrak, Igor
    et al.
    Univ Zagreb, Croatia..
    Bosnic, Ivana
    Univ Zagreb, Croatia..
    Ciccozzi, Federico
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Mirandola, Raffaela
    Politecn Milan, Italy..
    Resilience of distributed student teams to stress factors: A longitudinal case-study2019In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 114, p. 258-274Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Teaching global software engineering is continuously evolving and improving to prepare future software engineers adequately. Geographically distributed work in project-oriented software development courses is both demanding and rewarding for student teams, who are susceptible to various risks stemming from different internal and external factors, being the sources of stress and impacting team performance. Objective: In this paper, we analyze the resilience of teams of students working in a geographically fully distributed setting. Resilience is analyzed in relation to two representative stress factors: non-contributing team members and changes to customer project requirements. We also reason on team collaboration patterns and analyze potential dependencies among these collaboration patterns, team resilience and stress factors. Method: We conduct a longitudinal case-study over five years on our Distributed Software Development (DSD) course. Based on empirical data, we study team resilience to two stress factors by observing their impact on process and product quality aspects of team performance. The same performance aspects are studied for identified collaboration patterns, and bidirectional influence between patterns and resilience is investigated. Results: Teams with up to two non-contributing members experience graceful degradation of performance indicators. A large number of non-contributing students almost guarantees the occurrence of educationally undesirable collaboration patterns. Exposed to requirements change stress, less resilient teams tend to focus on delivering the functional product rather than retaining a proper development process. Conclusions: Practical recommendations to be applied in contexts similar to our case have been provided at the end of the study. They include suggestions to mitigate the sources of stress, for example, by careful planning the team organization and balancing the number of regular and exchange students, or by discussing the issue of changing requirements with the external customers before the start of the project.

  • 5.
    Cedergren, Stefan
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Larsson, Stig
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Evaluating performance in the development of software-intensive products2014In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 56, no 5, p. 516-526Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Organizational performance measurements in software product development have received a lot of attention in the literature. Still, there is a general discontent regarding the way performance is evaluated in practice, with few studies really focusing on why this is the case. In this paper research focusing on the context of developing software-intensive products in large established multi-national organizations is reported on. Objective: The purpose of this research is to investigate performance measurement practices related to software product development activities. More specifically, focus is on exploring how managers engaged in software product development activities perceive and evaluate performance in large organizations from a managerial perspective. Method: The research approach pursued in this research consist of exploratory multiple case studies. Data is collected mainly through 54 interviews in five case studies in large international organizations developing software-intensive products in Sweden. Focused group interviews with senior managers from eight companies have also been used in the data collection. Results: The results of this research indicate that managers within software product development in general are dissatisfied with their current way of evaluating performance. Performance measurements and the perception of performance are today focused on cost, time, and quality, i.e. what is easily measurable and not necessarily what is important. The dimensions of value creation and learning are missing. Moreover, measurements tend to be result oriented, rather than process oriented, making it difficult to integrate these measurements in the management practices. Conclusion: Managers that are dissatisfied with their performance measurement system and want to improve the current situation should not start by focusing on the current measurements directly; instead they should focus on how the organization perceives performance and how important performance criteria are being developed. By developing relevant performance criteria the first step in developing an effective performance measurement system is made. Moreover, it is concluded that manager's perception of performance is affected by the currently used measurements, hence limiting the scope of the performance criteria. Thus, a change in the way managers perceive performance is necessary before there can be any changes in the way performance is evaluated. 

  • 6.
    Ciccozzi, Federico
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Cicchetti, Antonio
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Sjödin, Mikael
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Round-Trip Support for Extra-functional Property Management in Model-Driven Engineering of Embedded Systems2013In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 55, no 6, p. 1085-1100Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: In order for model-driven engineering to succeed, automated code generation from models through model transformations has to guarantee that extra-functional properties modelled at design level are preserved at code level. Objective: The goal of this research work is to provide a full round-trip engineering approach in order to evaluate quality attributes of the embedded system by code execution monitoring as well as code static analysis and then provide back-propagation of the resulting values to modelling level. In this way, properties that can only be roughly estimated statically are evaluated against observed values and this consequently allows to refine the design models for ensuring preservation of analysed extra-functional properties at code level. Method: Following the model-driven engineering vision, (meta-)models and transformations are used as main artefacts for the realisation of the round-trip support which is finally validated against an industrial case-study. Result: This article presents an approach to support the whole round-trip process starting from the generation of source code for a target platform, passing through the monitoring of selected system quality attributes at code level, and finishing with the back-propagation of observed values to modelling level. The technique is validated against an industrial case-study in the telecommunications applicative domain. Conclusion: Preservation of extra-functional properties through appropriate description, computation and evaluation allows to reduce final product verification and validation effort and costs by providing correctness-by-construction of the generated code. The proposed round-trip support aids a model-driven component-based development process in ensuring a desired level of extra-functional properties preservation from the source modelling artefacts to the generated code.

  • 7.
    Graydon, Patrick
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.
    Kelly, T. P.
    University of York.
    Using argumentation to evaluate software assurance standards2013In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 55, no 9, p. 1551-1562Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Many people and organisations rely upon software safety and security standards to provide confidence in software intensive systems. For example, people rely upon the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation to establish justified and sufficient confidence that an evaluated information technology product's contributions to security threats and threat management are acceptable. Is this standard suitable for this purpose? Objective: We propose a method for assessing whether conformance with a software safety or security standard is sufficient to support a conclusion such as adequate safety or security. We hypothesise that our method is feasible and capable of revealing interesting issues with the proposed use of the assessed standard. Method: The software safety and security standards with which we are concerned require evidence and discuss the objectives of that evidence. Our method is to capture a standard's evidence and objectives as an argument supporting the desired conclusion and to subject this argument to logical criticism. We have evaluated our method by case study application to the Common Criteria standard. Results: We were able to capture and criticise an argument from the Common Criteria standard. Review revealed 121 issues with the analysed use of the standard. These range from vagueness in its text to failure to require evidence that would substantially increase confidence in the security of evaluated software. Conclusion: Our method was feasible and revealed interesting issues with using a Common Criteria evaluation to support a conclusion of adequate software security. Considering the structure of similar assurance standards, we see no reason to believe that our method will not prove similarly valuable in other applications. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  • 8.
    Larsson, Stig
    et al.
    ABB.
    Myllyperkiö, Petri
    ABB.
    Ekdahl, Fredrik
    ABB.
    Crnkovic, Ivica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Software product integration: A case study-based synthesis of reference models2009In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 51, no 6, p. 1066-1080Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In software intensive systems the integration becomes complex since both software and hardware components are integrated and run in the execution environment for the first time. Support for this stage is thus essential. Practices for Product Integration are described in different reference models. We have investigated these and compared them with activities performed in seven product development projects. Our conclusion is that descriptions of best practices in product integration are available in different reference models, but need to be merged into one set of practices. Through case studies we see that the described practices are insufficiently used in industry, and that organizations would benefit from adhering to them. Our investigations indicate that a set of practices are necessary to be successful in software product integration: define and check criteria for integration, review interface descriptions and ensure coordination of interface changes, and deliver components as agreed. In addition to these, a set of practices are supporting the integration activities, including the definition of an integration strategy, and the establishment of a suitable integration environment.

  • 9.
    Lindström, Birgitta
    et al.
    Univ Skövde, Skövde, Sweden..
    Offutt, Jeff
    George Mason Univ, Fairfax, USA..
    Sundmark, Daniel
    Swedish Inst Comp Sci, Kista, Sweden..
    Andler, Sten F.
    Univ Skövde, Skövde, Sweden..
    Pettersson, Paul
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Using mutation to design tests for aspect-oriented models2017In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 81, p. 112-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Testing for properties such as robustness or security is complicated because their concerns are often repeated in many locations and muddled with the normal code. Such "cross-cutting concerns" include things like interrupt events, exception handling, and security protocols. Aspect-oriented (AO) modeling allows, developers to model the cross-cutting behavior independently of the normal behavior, thus supporting model-based testing of cross-cutting concerns. However, mutation operators defined for AO programs (source code) are usually not applicable to AO models (AGMs) and operators defined for models do not target the AO features. Objective: We present a method to design abstract tests at the aspect-oriented model level. We define mutation operators for aspect-oriented models and evaluate the generated mutants for an example system. Method: AOMs are mutated with novel operators that specifically target the AO modeling features. Test traces killing these mutant models are then generated. The generated and selected traces are abstract tests that can be transformed to concrete black-box tests and run on the implementation level, to evaluate the behavior of the woven cross-cutting concerns (combined aspect and base models). Results: This paper is a significant extension of our paper at Mutation 2015. We present a complete fault model, additional mutation operators, and a thorough analysis of the mutants generated for an example system. Conclusions: The analysis shows that some mutants are stillborn (syntactically illegal) but none is equivalent (exhibiting the same behavior as the original model). Additionally, our AOM-specific mutation operators can be combined with pre-existing operators to mutate code or models without any overlap.

  • 10.
    Papatheocharous, E.
    et al.
    SICS Swedish ICT AB, Kista, Sweden.
    Wnyk, K.
    Blekinge Inst Technol, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Petersen, K.
    Blekinge Inst Technol, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Sentilles, Séverine
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Cicchetti, Antonio
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Gorschek, T.
    Blekinge Inst Technol, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Shah, S.M.A.
    SICS Swedish ICT AB, Kista, Sweden.
    The GRADE taxonomy for supporting decision-making of asset selection in software-intensive system development2018In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 100, p. 1-17-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context The development of software-intensive systems includes many decisions involving various stakeholders with often conflicting interests and viewpoints. Objective: Decisions are rarely systematically documented and sporadically explored. This limits the opportunity for learning and improving on important decisions made in the development of software-intensive systems. Method: In this work, we enable support for the systematic documentation of decisions, improve their traceability and contribute to potentially improved decision-making in strategic, tactical and operational contexts. Results: We constructed a taxonomy for documentation supporting decision-making, called GRADE. GRADE was developed in a research project that required composition of a common dedicated language to make feasible the identification of new opportunities for better decision support and evaluation of multiple decision alternatives. The use of the taxonomy has been validated through thirty three decision cases from industry. Conclusion: This paper occupies this important yet greatly unexplored research gap by developing the GRADE taxonomy that serves as a common vocabulary to describe and classify decision-making with respect to architectural assets.

  • 11.
    Pei-Breivold, Hongyu
    et al.
    ABB Corporate Research.
    Crnkovic, Ivica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Larsson, Magnus
    ABB Corporate Research.
    A systematic review of software architecture evolution research2012In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 54, no 1, p. 16-40Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Software evolvability describes a software system's ability to easily accommodate future changes. It is a fundamental characteristic for making strategic decisions, and increasing economic value of software. For long-lived systems, there is a need to address evolvability explicitly during the entire software lifecycle in order to prolong the productive lifetime of software systems. For this reason, many research studies have been proposed in this area both by researchers and industry practitioners. These studies comprise a spectrum of particular techniques and practices, covering various activities in software lifecycle. However, no systematic review has been conducted previously to provide an extensive overview of software architecture evolvability research. Objective: In this work, we present such a systematic review of architecting for software evolvability. The objective of this review is to obtain an overview of the existing approaches in analyzing and improving software evolvability at architectural level, and investigate impacts on research and practice. Method: The identification of the primary studies in this review was based on a pre-defined search strategy and a multi-step selection process. Results: Based on research topics in these studies, we have identified five main categories of themes: (i) techniques supporting quality consideration during software architecture design, (ii) architectural quality evaluation, (iii) economic valuation, (iv) architectural knowledge management, and (v) modeling techniques. A comprehensive overview of these categories and related studies is presented. Conclusion: The findings of this review also reveal suggestions for further research and practice, such as (i) it is necessary to establish a theoretical foundation for software evolution research due to the fact that the expertise in this area is still built on the basis of case studies instead of generalized knowledge; (ii) it is necessary to combine appropriate techniques to address the multifaceted perspectives of software evolvability due to the fact that each technique has its specific focus and context for which it is appropriate in the entire software lifecycle.

  • 12.
    Wallin, Peter
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Larsson, Stig
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Fröberg, Joakim
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Axelsson, Jakob
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Problems and their mitigation in system and software architecting2012In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 54, no 7, p. 686-700Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Today, software and embedded systems act as enablers for developing new functionality in traditional industries such as the automotive, process automation, and manufacturing automation domains. This differs from 25–30 years ago when these systems where based on electronics and electro-mechanical solutions. The architecture of the embedded system and of the software is important to ensure the qualities of these applications. However, the effort of designing and evolving the architecture is in practice often neglected during system development, whilst development efforts are centered on implementing new functionality. Objective: We present problems and success factors that are central to the architectural development of software intensive systems in the domain of automotive and automation products as judged by practitioners. Method: The method consisted of three steps. First, we used semi-structured interviews to collect data in an exploratory manner. As a second step, a survey based on problems extracted from the interview data was used to investigate the occurrence of these problems at a wider range of organizations. In order to identify and suggest how to mitigate the problems that were considered important, we finally performed root cause analysis workshops, and from these a number of success factors were elicited. Results: A total of 21 problems have been identified based on the interview data, and these are related to the technical, organizational, project, and agreement processes. Based on the survey results, the following four problems were selected for a root cause analysis: (1) there is a lack of process for architecture development, (2) there is a lack of method or model to evaluate the business value when choosing the architecture, (3) there is a lack of clear long-term architectural strategy, and (4) processes and methods are less valued than knowledge and competence of individuals. Conclusion: In conclusion, the following identified success factors are crucial components to be successful in developing software intensive systems: (1) define an architectural strategy, (2) implement a process for architectural work, (3) ensure authority for architects, (4) clarify the business impact of the architecture, and (5) optimize on the project portfolio level instead of optimizing each project.

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