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JMP 12 Design of Experiments Guide by SAS Institute

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Overview of Covering Arrays
You can use covering arrays to test systems where failures occur as a result of interactions among components or subsystems. Covering arrays are often used in areas such as software, circuit, and network design, where the following conditions are likely to be true:
The cost of testing is usually high.
Testing focuses on revealing interactions for which failures occur.
A test run is typically deterministic and results in either success or failure.
Replicate runs are wasteful because they yield identical results.
The efficiency of a design is based on how many of the possible conditions are covered without including redundant runs.
Because systems testing is expensive, reducing the amount of testing is critical. ...

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