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Unit Test Case Generation with Transformers

Michele Tufano, Dawn Drain, Alexey Svyatkovskiy, Shao Kun Deng, Neel Sundaresan. ICSE 2020

code generation synthesis test generation

Automated Unit Test Case generation has been the focus of extensive literature within the research community. Existing approaches are usually guided by the test coverage criteria, generating synthetic test cases that are often difficult to read or understand for developers. In this paper we propose AthenaTest, an approach that aims at generating unit test cases by learning from real-world, developer-written test cases. Our approach relies on a state-of-the-art sequence-to-sequence transformer model which is able to write useful test cases for a given method under test (i.e., focal method). We also introduce methods2test - the largest publicly available supervised parallel corpus of unit test case methods and corresponding focal methods in Java, which comprises 630k test cases mined from 70k open-source repositories hosted on GitHub. We use this dataset to train a transformer model to translate focal methods into the corresponding test cases. We evaluate the ability of our model in generating test cases using natural language processing as well as code-specific criteria. First, we assess the quality of the translation compared to the target test case, then we analyze properties of the test case such as syntactic correctness and number and variety of testing APIs (e.g., asserts). We execute the test cases, collect test coverage information, and compare them with test cases generated by EvoSuite and GPT-3. Finally, we survey professional developers on their preference in terms of readability, understandability, and testing effectiveness of the generated test cases.

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