Jie Zhang, Ziyi Wang, Lingming Zhang, Dan Hao, Lei Zang, Shiyang Cheng, and Lu Zhang

Mutation testing is a powerful methodology for evaluating test suite quality. In mutation testing, a large number of mutants are generated and executed against the test suite to check the ratio of killed mutants. Therefore, mutation testing is widely believed to be a computationally expensive technique. To alleviate the efficiency concern of mutation testing, in this paper, we propose predictive mutation testing (PMT), the first approach to predicting mutation testing results without mutant execution. In particular, the proposed approach constructs a classification model based on a series of features related to mutants and tests, and uses the classification model to predict whether a mutant is killed or survived without executing it. PMT has been evaluated on 163 real-world projects under two application scenarios (i.e., cross-version and cross-project). The experimental results demonstrate that PMT improves the efficiency of mutation testing by up to 151.4X while only incurring a small accuracy loss on mutant execution result prediction, indicating a good tradeoff between efficiency and effectiveness of mutation testing.