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Falsify your Software: validating scientific code with property-based testing

Zac Hatfield-Dodds
Australian National University


Where traditional example-based tests check software using manually-specified input-output pairs, property-based tests exploit a general description of valid inputs and program behaviour to automatically search for falsifying examples. Given that Python has excellent property-based testing tools, such tests are often easier to work with and routinely find serious bugs that all other techniques have missed.

I present four categories of properties relevant to most scientific projects, demonstrate how each found real bugs in Numpy and Astropy, and propose that property-based testing should be adopted more widely across the SciPy ecosystem.


methods, software, validation, property-based testing



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