Pacumen – Exploring Testing and AI

In this post I want to set the stage for some future posts regarding thinking about how you might work, as a specialist tester, within the context of an environment that is using machine learning and various artificial intelligence techniques. This is an area that I’m finding many testers are not ready for. To that end, I’m going to show you how to get my Pacumen code repository up and working. Then I’ll take you through a few exercises to put it through its paces.

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Testing and AI

What’s been interesting in the testing world — at least the part of it that I hang out in — is the application of different AI-based learning algorithms to the act of exploring an application and seeing what (if anything) that tells us regarding the algorithmic and non-algorithmic parts of the testing discipline. Let’s talk about this because I think is fertile ground for testers to be exploring.

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Solution Development in Python, Part 1

It’s been awhile since I tackled anything too traditionally “technical.” Lately I’ve encountered many testers who are interested in using Python as their ecosystem of choice for test solutions, particularly in data science or machine learning environments. So here I’ll talk about being a test solution developer in a Python context and what it means to create solutions in this ecosystem.

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Testing and Model Building

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb talks about “Platonicity,” which is defined as the desire to cut reality into crisp shapes. This is a form of dividing up a large domain into a smaller domain. This, by definition, means establishing certain boundaries. This is a key part of how people experiment and thus of how they model … and thus of how they ultimately explain things. So let’s talk about what this has to do with testing.

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Levels of Description

I’ve talked about the notion of test description languages quite a bit. A lot of these discussions get into debates about being declarative versus imperative, or focusing on intent rather than implementation. All good things to consider. But such “versus” terminology tends to suggest there is a “right” and a “wrong” when often what you have is “What makes sense in your context.” And you may have to flexibly shift between different description levels. Let’s talk about this.

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