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AI and machine learning in testing: use cases

machine learning
Testing software efficiently and effectively is crucial for delivering high-quality applications. However, traditional testing methods can be tedious, time-consuming, and limited in scope. This is where AI and machine learning come in. When applied correctly, AI and ML can significantly enhance software testing capabilities.

In this post, we'll explore some of the most impactful use cases for leveraging AI and ML in testing. We'll see how these technologies can automate repetitive tasks, generate test data, detect bugs and vulnerabilities, optimize test case prioritization, and more.

Automated Test Case Generation

One of the most labor-intensive aspects of testing is creating and maintaining test cases. Testers need to manually identify effective test inputs and scenarios that will expose bugs and quality issues.
AI and ML can automate the creation of test cases by learning from existing ones, modeling software behavior, and generating new tests using algorithms like combinatorial testing. This can greatly increase testing throughput and coverage.

Automated test case generation is like having a tireless, automated test engineer that can churn out test cases around the clock. By applying AI and machine learning to amplify human creativity, we can achieve unprecedented test coverage and defect detection.

Tools like Testim and Functionize use advanced computer vision and ML to record user journeys and interactions. These get turned into automated UI test cases. Apps and websites can be continuously tested without needing engineers to hand-code tests.

Intelligent Test Data Generation

Verifying software with comprehensive and relevant test data is challenging. Realistic data sets may be difficult to obtain or create manually.
AI techniques like generative adversarial networks (GANs) can automatically generate realistic synthetic test data for edge cases. ML also allows selecting small but powerful test data subsets from big datasets.

For example, tools like Tricentis Tosca use AI to analyze data dependencies in apps and generate test data accordingly. This provides maximize risk coverage without needing massive data sets.

Automated Test Case Prioritization

Which test cases should be run first? Test case prioritization helps maximize bug finding with limited resources.
But optimal prioritization requires analyzing factors like test case cost, risk coverage, and historical failure data. ML can automate this complex analysis to strategically order test execution.

Algorithms like regression testing, clustering, and reinforcement learning can learn test case effectiveness over time. Testing tools like Functionize and Applause leverage these techniques to schedule test runs intelligently.

Anomaly and Bug Detection

AI methods like supervised learning and computer vision can automatically detect bugs and anomalies in software behavior or UI.
Tools like Functionize and Applitools apply image classification to flag visual bugs in web/mobile apps. Other techniques like LSTM neural networks can detect deviations in API responses. This enables finding bugs without specifications.

Bugs can be detected earlier in the cycle, reducing escapes to production. Humans handle triage while AI provides a first line of defense.

Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing

Finding security flaws through penetration testing and vulnerability scanning is essential. AI can automate parts of this lengthy process.
Tools like IBM Security AppScan, Rapid7 InsightAppSec, and Qualys AI-powered capabilities to discover vulnerabilities like SQL injections, cross-site scripting, etc. Suspicious snippets of code are flagged for human review.

ML also enables dynamic application security testing by automatically generating exploits and payloads tailored to the target app. This expands coverage and eliminates false positives.

Test Suite Optimization

Test suites grow stale over time as codebases evolve. AI techniques can optimize suites by removing redundant and obsolete test cases.
Algorithms analyze tests for overlap in coverage and relevance to current software requirements. Low-value repetitive cases are pruned. Any gaps created are filled by generating new tests.

This prevents technical debt accumulation and focuses testing on high-value scenarios aligned to risk. Tools like Functionize and qTest enable continuous, AI-driven test optimization.

Smart Test Reporting and Analytics

AI can enhance test analytics and reporting through techniques like natural language generation (NLG) and natural language processing (NLP).
Tools like and Practitest leverage NLG to automatically compile insightful test summaries. NLP extracts and structures test results into interactive dashboards.

These capabilities help testers spend less time on manual reporting. Teams get access to advanced visual analytics for better insights.

Automated Root Cause Analysis

Determining the root cause behind software failures and bugs can be difficult. AI techniques can help automate root cause analysis.
Algorithms correlate test failures with code changes, environment factors, test data, etc. Advanced clustering methods piece together all evidence to pinpoint likely root causes.

This accelerates defect diagnosis and resolution. Debugging time gets spent more effectively.

The Future is AI-Assisted

While AI is automating specific testing tasks, human testers are still indispensable. The future of testing lies in AI assisting and augmenting humans.
Testers handle creative, strategic work like test planning, design, and reporting. AI adds throughput, insight, and optimization to strengthen testing.

With the right processes, AI adoption can make testing faster, smarter, and more comprehensive. Teams can shift left on quality and deliver better software.

Key Takeaways

Here are the major takeaways on AI/ML use cases in testing:
  • Automate tedious and repetitive tasks like test case/data generation and prioritization.
  • Enable early bug finding through intelligent test design and anomaly detection.
  • Optimize test suites by removing obsolete cases and filling coverage gaps.
  • Provide advanced analytics and reporting with techniques like NLG and NLP.
  • Accelerate root cause analysis by correlating test failures with code and environment.
  • Focus human testers on high-value creative and strategic work.
  • Adopt AI carefully based on processes, people, and technology maturity.

The testing world is being transformed by AI and ML. When applied judiciously, these technologies can help teams release higher-quality, more secure software faster. Testing continues to evolve as AI capabilities expand.