Variable Strength Covering Arrays

Title: Variable Strength Covering Arrays
Authors: Raaphorst, Sebastian
Date: 2013
Abstract: Recently, covering arrays have been the subject of considerable research attention as they hold both theoretical interest and practical importance due to their applications to testing. In this thesis, we perform the first comprehensive study of a generalization of covering arrays called variable strength covering arrays, where we dictate the interactions to be covered in the array by modeling them as facets of an abstract simplicial complex. We outline the necessary background in the theory of hypergraphs, combinatorial testing, and design theory that is relevant to the study of variable strength covering arrays. We then approach questions that arise in variable strength covering arrays in a number of ways. We demonstrate their connections to hypergraph homomorphisms, and explore the properties of a particular family of abstract simplicial complexes, the qualitative independence hypergraphs. These hypergraphs are tightly linked to variable strength covering arrays, and we determine and identify several of their important properties and subhypergraphs. We give a detailed study of constructions for variable strength covering arrays, and provide several operations and divide-and-conquer techniques that can be used in building them. In addition, we give a construction using linear feedback shift registers from primitive polynomials of degree 3 over arbitrary finite fields to find variable strength covering arrays, which we extend to strength-3 covering arrays whose sizes are smaller than many of the best known sizes of covering arrays. We then give an algorithm for creating variable strength covering arrays over arbitrary abstract simplicial complexes, which builds the arrays one row at a time, using a density concept to guarantee that the size of the resultant array is asymptotic in the logarithm of the number of facets in the abstact simplicial complex. This algorithm is of immediate practical importance, as it can be used to create test suites for combinatorial testing. Finally, we use the Lovasz Local Lemma to nonconstructively determine upper bounds on the sizes of arrays for a number of different families of hypergraphs. We lay out a framework that can be used for many hypergraphs, and then discuss possible strategies that can be taken in asymmetric problems.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -