Alexander Todorov: Semantically Invalid Input

Unsolvable Square example

. . 9 | . 2 8 | 7 . .
8 . 6 | . . 4 | . . 5
. . 3 | . . . | . . 4
------+-------+------
6 . . | . . . | . . .
? 2 . | 7 1 3 | 4 5 .
. . . | . . . | . . 2
------+-------+------
3 . . | . . . | 5 . .
9 . . | 4 . . | 8 . 7
. . 1 | 2 5 . | 3 . .

In a comment to a
previous post
Flavio Poletti proposed a very interesting test case for a function which solves
the Sudoku game – semantically invalid input, i.e. an input that passes intermediate
validation checks (no duplicates in any row/col/9-square) but that cannot possibly
have a solution
.

Until then I thought that Sudoku was a completely deterministic game and if input
followed all validation checks then we always have a solution. Apparently I was wrong!
Reading more on the topic I discovered these
Sudoku test cases from Sudopedia.
Their Invalid Test Cases
section lists several examples of semantically invalid input in Sudoku:

  • Unsolvable Square;
  • Unsolvable Box;
  • Unsolvable Column;
  • Unsolvable Row;
  • Not Unique with examples having 2, 3, 4, 10 and 125 solutions

The example above cannot be solved because the left-most
square of the middle row (r5c1) has no possible candidates.

Following the rule non-repeating numbers from 1 to 9 in each row for row 5 we’re
left with numbers: 6, 8 and 9. For (r5c1) 6 is a no-go because it is already present
in the same square. Then 9 is a no-go because it is present in column 1. Which leaves
us with 8, which is also present in column 1! Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

Also check the
Valid Test Cases section
which includes other interesting examples and definitely not ones which I have considered
previously when testing Sudoku.

On a more practical note I have been trying to remember a case from my QA practice
where we had input data that matched all conditions but is semantically invalid. I
can’t remember of such a case. If you do have examples about semantically invalid
data in real software please let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and happy testing!


Source From: fedoraplanet.org.
Original article title: Alexander Todorov: Semantically Invalid Input.
This full article can be read at: Alexander Todorov: Semantically Invalid Input.

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