Improved Strength Four Covering Arrays with Three Symbols

Research paper by Soumen Maity, Yasmeen Akhtar, Reshma C Chandrasekharan, Charles J Colbourn

Indexed on: 30 Dec '15Published on: 30 Dec '15Published in: Computer Science - Discrete Mathematics


A covering array $t$-$CA(n,k,g)$, of size $n$, strength $t$, degree $k$, and order $g$, is a $k\times n$ array on $g$ symbols such that every $t\times n$ sub-array contains every $t\times 1$ column on $g$ symbols at least once. Covering arrays have been studied for their applications to software testing, hardware testing, drug screening, and in areas where interactions of multiple parameters are to be tested. In this paper, we present an algebraic construction that improves many of the best known upper bounds on $n$ for covering arrays 4-$CA(n,k,g)$ with $g=3$. The $coverage$ $measure$ $\mu_t(A)$ of a testing array $A$ is defined by the ratio between the number of distinct $t$-tuples contained in the column vectors of $A$ and the total number of $t$-tuples. A covering array is a testing array with full coverage. The $covering$ $arrays$ $with$ $budget$ $constraints$ $problem$ is the problem of constructing a testing array of size at most $n$ having largest possible coverage measure, given values of $k,g$ and $n$. This paper presents several strength four testing arrays with high coverage. The construction here is a generalisation of the construction methods used by Chateauneuf, Colbourn and Kreher, and Meagher and Stevens.