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GraphNorm: A Principled Approach to Accelerating Graph Neural Network Training
Tianle Cai · Shengjie Luo · Keyulu Xu · Di He · Tie-Yan Liu · Liwei Wang

Tue Jul 20 09:00 PM -- 11:00 PM (PDT) @ Virtual

Normalization is known to help the optimization of deep neural networks. Curiously, different architectures require specialized normalization methods. In this paper, we study what normalization is effective for Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). First, we adapt and evaluate the existing methods from other domains to GNNs. Faster convergence is achieved with InstanceNorm compared to BatchNorm and LayerNorm. We provide an explanation by showing that InstanceNorm serves as a preconditioner for GNNs, but such preconditioning effect is weaker with BatchNorm due to the heavy batch noise in graph datasets. Second, we show that the shift operation in InstanceNorm results in an expressiveness degradation of GNNs for highly regular graphs. We address this issue by proposing GraphNorm with a learnable shift. Empirically, GNNs with GraphNorm converge faster compared to GNNs using other normalization. GraphNorm also improves the generalization of GNNs, achieving better performance on graph classification benchmarks.

Author Information

Tianle Cai (Princeton University)
Shengjie Luo (Peking University)
Keyulu Xu (MIT)
Di He (Microsoft Research)
Tie-Yan Liu (Microsoft Research Asia)

Tie-Yan Liu is a principal researcher of Microsoft Research Asia, leading the research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is very well known for his pioneer work on learning to rank and computational advertising, and his recent research interests include deep learning, reinforcement learning, and distributed machine learning. Many of his technologies have been transferred to Microsoft’s products and online services (such as Bing, Microsoft Advertising, and Azure), and open-sourced through Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), Microsoft Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK), and Microsoft Graph Engine. On the other hand, he has been actively contributing to academic communities. He is an adjunct/honorary professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Nottingham, and several other universities in China. His papers have been cited for tens of thousands of times in refereed conferences and journals. He has won quite a few awards, including the best student paper award at SIGIR (2008), the most cited paper award at Journal of Visual Communications and Image Representation (2004-2006), the research break-through award (2012) and research-team-of-the-year award (2017) at Microsoft Research, and Top-10 Springer Computer Science books by Chinese authors (2015), and the most cited Chinese researcher by Elsevier (2017). He has been invited to serve as general chair, program committee chair, local chair, or area chair for a dozen of top conferences including SIGIR, WWW, KDD, ICML, NIPS, IJCAI, AAAI, ACL, ICTIR, as well as associate editor of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, ACM Transactions on the Web, and Neurocomputing. Tie-Yan Liu is a fellow of the IEEE, a distinguished member of the ACM, and a vice chair of the CIPS information retrieval technical committee.

Liwei Wang (Peking University)

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