Quality metrics for mutation testing with applications to WS-BPEL compositions

Antonia Estero-Botaro, Francisco Palomo-Lozano, Inmaculada Medina-Bulo, Juan José Domínguez-Jiménez, Antonio García-Domínguez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutation testing is a successful testing technique based on fault injection. However, it can be very costly, and several cost-reduction techniques for reducing the number of mutants have been proposed in the literature. Cost reduction can be aided by an analysis of mutation operators, but this requires the definition of specialized metrics. Several metrics have been proposed before, although their effectiveness and relative merits are not easy to assess. A step ahead in the evaluation of mutation-reduction techniques would be a better metric to determine objectively the quality of a set of mutants with respect to a given test suite. This work introduces such a metric, which is naturally extended to mutation operators and may be used to reduce the number of mutants, particularly of equivalent mutants. Finally, a firm mutation analysis tool for WS-BPEL service compositions is presented, and experimental results obtained by comparing different metrics on several compositions are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-571
Number of pages36
JournalSoftware Testing Verification and Reliability
Issue number5-7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Estero-Botaro, A., Palomo-Lozano, F., Medina-Bulo, I., Domínguez-Jiménez, J. J., & García-Domínguez, A. (2015). Quality metrics for mutation testing with applications to WS-BPEL compositions. Software Testing Verification and Reliability, 25(5-7), 536-571, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/stvr.1528. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • firm mutation
  • mutation testing
  • quality metrics
  • quality of mutation operators
  • service compositions


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