Poland _ Synerise

Tester's Roulette - what Game Theory teaches us about testing

Game Theory provides a novel perspective on the work of software testers in any software development process.

Adrian will introduce you to the basic terms of game theory: the game, players and payoffs, starting with a “Hotelling beach” model that describes how competition works and why we tend to occupy space close to our competitors. He will also explain Nash’s Equilibrium and how it is present in our everyday decision making processes, and Braess's paradox - a phenomenon explaining how adding new road could actually make your trip longer. He’ll use the Prisoner’s Dilemma to shed some light on decision-making and communication to maximise quality, and show us how an Idealized Testing Game becomes a Prisoner’s Dilemma where both coders and testers might choose profitably to perform quality work – yet by changing the reward, the incentive is for both to perform poor work.

Finally, Adrian will show you security games (leader-follower Stackelberg games), to present aspects of risk management, prioritizing and work-time distribution. He’ll show that mixed-strategy solutions can be used to solve this kind of game and how you can apply the same concept in order to calculate effort we should spend on each feature or how to randomize regression tests to ensure we test the most important stuff.

Key takeaways
  1. Game Theory concepts can be useful in understanding interactions and behaviors present in software testing.
  2. Security Games bring interesting ideas for time distribution during regression testing.
  3. Software Testing can become a Prisoner's Dilemma in special circumstances.

I'm a Software Tester with over 5 years of experience gathered in various places: from startups to big corporates. Currently, I work as QA Lead at Synerise where I take care for testing process and its automation as well as introducing the positive quality culture. I'm passionate of technical, cross-functional stuff (big data, DevOps), music, moutaineering and MTB.