Conventional programming wisdom has long said that most software failures result from a mere two variables colliding in an unforeseen way. Finding these possible bugs can be an arduous and expensive undertaking for large programs. Computer scientists and mathematicians at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Texas, Arlington are developing a new, open source application that can test for these bugs quickly and inexpensively.
Though their research shows that most of these program bugs are caused by only two variables interacting, faults caused by the interaction of six variables or more are not unseen. The application under development by the NIST-University of Texas team takes this into consideration, using a technique more commonly used in the chemistry field known as combinatorial testing..