NIST Develops Safety Test Tool for Critical Software

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Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology developed a toolkit to improve safety tests for software used in critical activities such as transport and power plant operation, NIST said Tuesday. The Automated Combinatorial Testing for Software toolkit enables software developers to mitigate the input of simultaneous code combinations which may result in critical glitches that pose threats to safety. 

NIST is working to integrate ACTS, which deploys a new version of the Combinatorial Coverage Measurement tool, with an algorithm developed by Austria-based SBA Research that can process input variables of up to five-way combinations. The algorithm, used together with ACTS, can extend the latter’s variable capacity to thousands.

“We can apply this method to more applications and systems that previously were too hard to handle. We’d invite any company that is interested in expanding its software to contact us, and we’ll share any information they might need,” said Richard Kuhn, a computer scientist for NIST.

Recently, Adobe used NIST and SBA Research’s software testing algorithms to conduct reliability assessments for one of the company’s software packages.

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