Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foldit-Play and Solve mysteries

Finding new medicines for the diseases is a next to impossible task. If that involves finding new proteins it is even more difficult. New approaches are tried for these things.

Foldit is an important step in this direction. It is a game, where you will play to fold the proteins in order to win.

How does my game playing contribute to curing diseases?

With all the things proteins do to keep our bodies functioning and healthy, they can be involved in disease in many different ways. The more we know about how certain proteins fold, the better new proteins we can design to combat the disease-related proteins and cure the diseases. Below, we list three diseases that represent different ways that proteins can be involved in disease.

What other good stuff am I contributing to by playing?

Proteins are found in all living things, including plants. Certain types of plants are grown and converted to biofuel, but the conversion process is not as fast and efficient as it could be. A critical step in turning plants into fuel is breaking down the plant material, which is currently done by microbial enzymes (proteins) called "cellulases". Perhaps we can find new proteins to do it better.

Can humans really help computers fold proteins?

We’re collecting data to find out if humans' pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities make them more efficient than existing computer programs at pattern-folding tasks. If this turns out to be true, we can then teach human strategies to computers and fold proteins faster than ever!

Check it out. Play and Solve

Record and Playback

Record and Playback looks like an easy way of automating the UI. You record the screens and play it back. However, the issue arises when you do more than 100 cases or scenarios. It won't scale, Period. Let me list the shot comings in the traditional record and play back methods.

1. It wont scale
2. Collaborative testing in not possible
3. Can't handle the errors in the run time.
4. Maintenance is very costly if the UI changes frequently.
5. Finding new bugs is very limited.

Lot of people talked/wrote about the UI test automation. People like Cem Kaner and James Bach, wrote extensively. Cem Kaner published videos and I like James Bach's Test Automation a Snake Oil.

Will the test automation work? Yes, it will work, provided we didn't expect a magic wand. Before going the see how it will work. Let us see the available tools for this.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Test Automation - What is it

Test Automation is meant to different things to different people working in different domains. This generic phrase is (ab)used by few people and lot of people using it without understanding the meaning. Generally, we take this as conductiong the test by machine to find bugs. Conducting test includes code analysis, code coverage, unit test, record and play back and other methods.

We all know that Testing consist of  two different things, performing the test and finding bugs. Test automation is about performing the tests. Finding bugs will left to the human testers. Let me list out the test automation methods available,

1. Record and Play back(UI automation)
2. Code coverage
3. Unit testing using frameworks
4. Code analysis (static and dynamic)
5. Memory profiling and Performance analysis.

The list is not an final one. As I come to know, more ways to test it will be updated.

Name tags in Picasa

With the name tags, Google solved the one of big problems in the photo albums. Now, searching the albums easier and no need to tell the name of the persons to everyone. Just tag it, it will be shown.

Check it out. I've another thousand faces to name.

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My "Testing" Bundle