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Project QuestWare: Gamifying the Quest for Software Tests

Project QuestWare: Gamifying the Quest for Software Tests

Writing good software tests is difficult and not every software developer's favorite occupation. A research team of the University of Passau analyses whether elements of gamification could convert potentially tedious or boring tasks to components of entertaining gameplay.

Because of insufficient testing, programs crash, apps need to be constantly upgraded, huge economic damage is caused when software bugs are discovered in banking or flight management systems, and people have died due to software failures in cars and other safety related systems.

This project addresses the testing problem from a different and novel angle: Gamification is the approach of converting potentially tedious or boring tasks to components of entertaining gameplay, where the competitive nature of humans motivates them to compete and excel.

By applying gamification concepts to software testing we aim to influence testing in several ways:

  1. Gamification allows us to overcome deficiencies in education, where testing is a highly neglected topic. This will lead to programmers with better software testing skills, and it is particularly important with the recent efforts to teach programming to everyone, starting at young ages.

  2. Gamification allows us to engage practitioners in testing tasks they would otherwise neglect, and get them to use advanced testing tools and techniques they would otherwise not consider. This will firmly establish testing in daily programmer activities, and lead to higher quality programs.

  3. Gamification allows us to crowdsource testing tasks through games with a purpose. This will help solving testing problems that cannot be computed automatically, and allows us to improve automated techniques by integrating human intelligence, thus increasing the degree of automation in practice, and leading to more thorough testing. 

This project will apply a systematic methodology of iterative exploration, development, and evaluation of different means to achieve gamification of software testing. Research will be informed by testing and game theory, and will make use of rigorous empirical software engineering methods. This project will be the first systematic exploration of gamification in the context of software testing, and the first attempt of a holistic approach to improve testing by addressing education, practice, and automation.

Principal Investigator(s) at the University Prof. Dr. Gordon Fraser (Lehrstuhl für Software Engineering II)
Project period 01.10.2020 - 30.09.2023
Source of funding
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft > DFG - Sachbeihilfe
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft > DFG - Sachbeihilfe

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