Bruno Lima, PhD bio photo

Bruno Lima, PhD

Research Assistant at INESC TEC
Assistant Professor at FEUP (PT)

bruno.lima [at]
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Local Observability and Controllability Analysis and Enforcement in Distributed Testing With Time Constraints

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Bruno Lima, João Pascoal Faria and Robert Hierons


Evermore end-to-end digital services depend on the proper interoperation of multiple products, forming a distributed system, often subject to timing requirements. To ensure interoperability and the timely behavior of such systems, it is important to conduct integration tests that verify the interactions with the environment and between the system components in key scenarios. The automation of such integration tests requires that test components are also distributed, with local testers deployed close to the system components, coordinated by a central tester. Test coordination in such a test architecture is a big challenge. To address it, in this article we propose an approach based on the pre-processing of the test scenarios. We first analyze the test scenarios in order to check if conformance errors can be detected locally (local observability) and test inputs can be decided locally (local controllability) by the local testers for the test scenario under consideration, without the need for exchanging coordination messages between the test components during test execution. If such properties do not hold, we next try to determine a minimum set of coordination messages or time constraints to be attached to the given test scenario to enforce those properties and effectively solve the test coordination problem with minimal overhead. The analysis and enforcement procedures were implemented in the DCO Analyzer tool for test scenarios described by means of UML sequence diagrams. Since many local observability and controllability problems may be caused by design flaws or incomplete specifications, and multiple ways may exist to enforce local observability and controllability, the tool was designed as a static analysis assistant to be used before test execution. DCO Analyzer was able to correctly identify local observability and controllability problems in real-world scenarios and help the users fix the detected problems.