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Preview: ACM Queue - Quality Assurance

ACM Queue - Quality Assurance


MongoDB's JavaScript Fuzzer

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:07:09 GMT

As MongoDB becomes more feature-rich and complex with time, the need to develop more sophisticated methods for finding bugs grows as well. Three years ago, MongDB added a home-grown JavaScript fuzzer to its toolkit, and it is now our most prolific bug-finding tool, responsible for detecting almost 200 bugs over the course of two release cycles. These bugs span a range of MongoDB components from sharding to the storage engine, with symptoms ranging from deadlocks to data inconsistency. The fuzzer runs as part of the CI (continuous integration) system, where it frequently catches bugs in newly committed code.

Model-based Testing: Where Does It Stand?

Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:26:59 GMT

You have probably heard about MBT (model-based testing), but like many software-engineering professionals who have not used MBT, you might be curious about others' experience with this test-design method. From mid-June 2014 to early August 2014, we conducted a survey to learn how MBT users view its efficiency and effectiveness. The 2014 MBT User Survey, a follow-up to a similar 2012 survey (, was open to all those who have evaluated or used any MBT approach. Its 32 questions included some from a survey distributed at the 2013 User Conference on Advanced Automated Testing. Some questions focused on the efficiency and effectiveness of MBT, providing the figures that managers are most interested in. Other questions were more technical and sought to validate a common MBT classification scheme. A common classification scheme could help users understand both the general diversity and specific approaches. The 2014 survey provides a realistic picture of the current state of MBT practice. This article presents some highlights of the survey findings. The complete results are available at

Automated QA Testing at EA: Driven by Events

Mon, 19 May 2014 09:51:05 GMT

To millions of game geeks, the position of QA (quality assurance) tester at Electronic Arts must seem like a dream job. But from the company's perspective, the overhead associated with QA can look downright frightening, particularly in an era of massively multiplayer games.

Adopting DevOps Practices in Quality Assurance

Wed, 30 Oct 2013 16:37:16 GMT

Software life-cycle management was, for a very long time, a controlled exercise. The duration of product design, development, and support was predictable enough that companies and their employees scheduled their finances, vacations, surgeries, and mergers around product releases. When developers were busy, QA (quality assurance) had it easy. As the coding portion of a release cycle came to a close, QA took over while support ramped up. Then when the product released, the development staff exhaled, rested, and started the loop again while the support staff transitioned to busily supporting the new product.

Leaking Space

Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:44:14 GMT

A space leak occurs when a computer program uses more memory than necessary. In contrast to memory leaks, where the leaked memory is never released, the memory consumed by a space leak is released, but later than expected. This article presents example space leaks and how to spot and eliminate them.

The Antifragile Organization

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:03:58 GMT

Failure is inevitable. Disks fail. Software bugs lie dormant waiting for just the right conditions to bite. People make mistakes. Data centers are built on farms of unreliable commodity hardware. If you're running in a cloud environment, then many of these factors are outside of your control. To compound the problem, failure is not predictable and doesn't occur with uniform probability and frequency. The lack of a uniform frequency increases uncertainty and risk in the system. In the face of such inevitable and unpredictable failure, how can you build a reliable service that provides the high level of availability your users can depend on?

Weathering the Unexpected

Sun, 16 Sep 2012 19:05:37 GMT

Whether it is a hurricane blowing down power lines, a volcanic-ash cloud grounding all flights for a continent, or a humble rodent gnawing through underground fibers -- the unexpected happens. We cannot do much to prevent it, but there is a lot we can do to be prepared for it. To this end, Google runs an annual, company-wide, multi-day Disaster Recovery Testing event -- DiRT -- the objective of which is to ensure that Google's services and internal business operations continue to run following a disaster.

Resilience Engineering: Learning to Embrace Failure

Thu, 13 Sep 2012 22:00:47 GMT

In the early 2000s, Amazon created GameDay, a program designed to increase resilience by purposely injecting major failures into critical systems semi-regularly to discover flaws and subtle dependencies. Basically, a GameDay exercise tests a company's systems, software, and people in the course of preparing for a response to a disastrous event. Widespread acceptance of the GameDay concept has taken a few years, but many companies now see its value and have started to adopt their own versions. This discussion considers some of those experiences.

Fault Injection in Production

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 18:57:18 GMT

When we build Web infrastructures at Etsy, we aim to make them resilient. This means designing them carefully so that they can sustain their (increasingly critical) operations in the face of failure. Thankfully, there have been a couple of decades and reams of paper spent on researching how fault tolerance and graceful degradation can be brought to computer systems. That helps the cause.

Verification of Safety-critical Software

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:18:51 GMT

Avionics software has become a keystone in today's aircraft design. Advances in avionics systems have reduced aircraft weight thereby reducing fuel consumption, enabled precision navigation, improved engine performance, and provided a host of other benefits. These advances have turned modern aircraft into flying data centers with computers controlling or monitoring many of the critical systems onboard. The software that runs these aircraft systems must be as safe as we can make it.