Testing and Scientific Method

Below is an excerpt of our book Testing of Complex and Embedded Systems

Pries, K., & Quigley, J. (2011). Chapter 4. In Testing Complex and Embedded Systems (pp. 33-35). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Testing of Complex and Embedded Systems

Testing of Complex and Embedded Systems


Basic Principle of Testing

The verification and test group is there to provide some critical and unbiased review of the product. This is used to understand the real quality of the product and make adjustments as to improve that quality. When we find a bug or defect, we are in a position to consider whether it gets corrected before the product is shipped to the customer. Without this work, the first opportunity to ascertain the product quality would be the customer.

“Concentrate on what cannot lie–the evidence.”  ~  Grissom to Warrick in the CSI Pilot

When we test, we are in a position to provide evidence-based results and conclusions to our product development team. In the famous Kalama Sutra, Siddhartha Gautama–the historical Buddha–explains to the Kalamas that they must not accept spiritual declarations as the truth without testing such statements for themselves

Verification principles.

Verification principles.


The Method of Science Is the Method of Bold Conjectures and Ingenious and Severe Attempts to Refute Them.  ~Karl R. Popper

The method of proposing a hypothesis and then testing it is called abduction and was first formalized by Charles Sanders Peirce.  Karl Popper took the concept further by proposing the principle of falsifiability; that is, if we are incapable of testing a hypothesis, then that hypothesis is effectively meaningless.  The principle of falsifiability acts as a practical Occam’s Razor to eliminate unverifiable avowals.  The approach is not without critics; however, rational use of falsifiability serves to eliminate situations where we are making statements so nebulous as to be meaningless.

Method of Science.


Usually, a theory cannot be proven by one test with a positive result, but it can be proven false by one test that disagrees with its predictions.[1]

[1] Hartmann, William K. and Miller, Ron, The History of the Earth (New York: Workman Publishing, 1991) p.237.

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