Manual test case generation is an exhaustive and time-consuming process. However, automated test data generation may reduce the efforts and assist in creating an adequate test suite embracing predefined goals. The quality of a test suite depends on its fault-finding behavior. Mutants have been widely accepted for simulating the artificial faults that behave similarly to realistic ones for test data generation. In prior studies, the use of search-based techniques has been extensively reported to enhance the quality of test suites. Symmetry, however, can have a detrimental impact on the dynamics of a search-based algorithm, whose performance strongly depends on breaking the “symmetry” of search space by the evolving population. This study implements an elitist Genetic Algorithm (GA) with an improved fitness function to expose maximum faults while also minimizing the cost of testing by generating less complex and asymmetric test cases. It uses the selective mutation strategy to create low-cost artificial faults that result in a lesser number of redundant and equivalent mutants. For evolution, reproduction operator selection is repeatedly guided by the traces of test execution and mutant detection that decides whether to diversify or intensify the previous population of test cases. An iterative elimination of redundant test cases further minimizes the size of the test suite. This study uses 14 Java programs of significant sizes to validate the efficacy of the proposed approach in comparison to Initial Random tests and a widely used evolutionary framework in academia, namely Evosuite. Empirically, our approach is found to be more stable with significant improvement in the test case efficiency of the optimized test suite.
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