Reinforcement Learning for Scriptless Testing: An Empirical Investigation of Reward Functions

Olivia Rodríguez-Valdés*, Tanja E.J. Vos, Beatriz Marín, Pekka Aho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Testing web applications through the GUI can be complex and time-consuming, as it involves checking the functionality of the system under test (SUT) from the user’s perspective. Random testing can improve test efficiency by automating the process, but achieving good exploration is difficult because it requires uniform distribution over a large search space while also taking into account the dynamic content commonly found in web applications. Reinforcement learning can improve the efficiency of random testing by guiding the generation of test sequences. This is achieved by assigning rewards to specific actions and using them to determine which actions are most likely to lead to a desired outcome. While rewards based on the difference between consecutive states are commonly used in modern tools, they can lead to the Jumping Between States (JBS) problem, where large rewards are generated without significantly increasing exploration. We propose a solution to the JBS problem by combining rewards based on the change of state and a metric to estimate the level of exploration reached in the next state based on the frequency of actions executed. Our results show that this multi-faceted approach increases the exploration efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Challenges in Information Science
Subtitle of host publicationInformation Science and the Connected World - 17th International Conference, RCIS 2023, Proceedings
EditorsSelmin Nurcan, Andreas L. Opdahl, Haralambos Mouratidis, Aggeliki Tsohou
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-33080-3
ISBN (Print)9783031330797
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Event17th International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Sciences, RCIS 2023 - Corfu, Greece
Duration: 23 May 202326 May 2023

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
Volume476 LNBIP


Conference17th International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Sciences, RCIS 2023
Internet address


  • GUI testing
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Scriptless testing


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