Reactive Systems Awarded Patent for Test Generation Method

Cary, NC (February 3, 2010) -- On January 5, 2010, Reactive Systems, Inc. (RSI) was awarded United States Patent 7,644,398 titled "System and Method for Automatic Test-Case Generation for Software". The invention relates to software testing, specifically to the process of seeking assurance that a computer program operates as intended.

Correct and reliable operation of software is of paramount importance in today's society, where applications ranging from cardiac pacemakers to automobiles to airplanes rely on software-driven embedded controllers. Ideally, an engineer would like to test a piece of software exhaustively by analyzing its behavior with respect to all possible sequences of inputs to the software. Unfortunately, exhaustive testing is rarely feasible due to the overwhelmingly large number of distinct inputs a system may respond to.

The invention covered by the awarded patent offers a novel approach to automatic test-case generation called guided simulation. The method works on the premise that an effective subset of tests can be selected from the set of exhaustive tests as follows. First, identify a set of coverage targets in the software under test, then select tests that maximize the number of targets exercised. Intuitively, the invention works by simulating the software under test, tracking coverage, and selecting inputs at each simulation step that exercise new targets.

RSI's Reactis® Tester product, launched in 2002, is an embodiment of the invention. The tool works with software models specified in the Simulink®/Stateflow® notation of The MathWorks. Given a model, Reactis Tester automatically generates tests that comprehensively exercise the model. An upcoming variant of the tool named Reactis for C will generate tests from programs expressed in the C programming language.

The inventors are RSI co-founders Rance Cleaveland and Steve Sims, and RSI CTO David Hansel.

About Reactis. RSI's Reactis tool provides automated test-generation and model-validation capabilities for Simulink/Stateflow models of control software. The tool can be used to test for conformance between a model and implementation code, and it can also be employed to validate model behavior. Reactis is used at dozens of companies worldwide in the automotive, aerospace, and heavy equipment industries.

About Reactive Systems. Reactive Systems, founded in 1999, is a privately held company based in the Cary, NC. For more information about RSI visit or call +1-919-324-3507.

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