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DL: Graph Neural Networks

Room 327 - 329

Moderator: Hanjun Dai

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Tue 19 July 10:30 - 10:35 PDT

pathGCN: Learning General Graph Spatial Operators from Paths

Moshe Eliasof · Eldad Haber · Eran Treister

Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs), similarly to Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), are typically based on two main operations - spatial and point-wise convolutions.In the context of GCNs, differently from CNNs, a pre-determined spatial operator based on the graph Laplacian is often chosen, allowing only the point-wise operations to be learnt.However, learning a meaningful spatial operator is critical for developing more expressive GCNs for improved performance. In this paper we propose pathGCN, a novel approach to learn the spatial operator from random paths on the graph. We analyze the convergence of our method and its difference from existing GCNs. Furthermore, we discuss several options of combining our learnt spatial operator with point-wise convolutions. Our extensive experiments on numerous datasets suggest that by properly learning both the spatial and point-wise convolutions, phenomena like over-smoothing can be inherently avoided, and new state-of-the-art performance is achieved.

Tue 19 July 10:35 - 10:40 PDT

Graph-Coupled Oscillator Networks

T. Konstantin Rusch · Ben Chamberlain · James Rowbottom · Siddhartha Mishra · Michael Bronstein

We propose Graph-Coupled Oscillator Networks (GraphCON), a novel framework for deep learning on graphs. It is based on discretizations of a second-order system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), which model a network of nonlinear controlled and damped oscillators, coupled via the adjacency structure of the underlying graph. The flexibility of our framework permits any basic GNN layer (e.g. convolutional or attentional) as the coupling function, from which a multi-layer deep neural network is built up via the dynamics of the proposed ODEs. We relate the oversmoothing problem, commonly encountered in GNNs, to the stability of steady states of the underlying ODE and show that zero-Dirichlet energy steady states are not stable for our proposed ODEs. This demonstrates that the proposed framework mitigates the oversmoothing problem. Moreover, we prove that GraphCON mitigates the exploding and vanishing gradients problem to facilitate training of deep multi-layer GNNs. Finally, we show that our approach offers competitive performance with respect to the state-of-the-art on a variety of graph-based learning tasks.

Tue 19 July 10:40 - 10:45 PDT

HousE: Knowledge Graph Embedding with Householder Parameterization

Rui Li · Jianan Zhao · Chaozhuo Li · Di He · Yiqi Wang · Yuming Liu · Hao Sun · Senzhang Wang · Weiwei Deng · Yanming Shen · Xing Xie · Qi Zhang

The effectiveness of knowledge graph embedding (KGE) largely depends on the ability to model intrinsic relation patterns and mapping properties. However, existing approaches can only capture some of them with insufficient modeling capacity. In this work, we propose a more powerful KGE framework named HousE, which involves a novel parameterization based on two kinds of Householder transformations: (1) Householder rotations to achieve superior capacity of modeling relation patterns; (2) Householder projections to handle sophisticated relation mapping properties. Theoretically, HousE is capable of modeling crucial relation patterns and mapping properties simultaneously. Besides, HousE is a generalization of existing rotation-based models while extending the rotations to high-dimensional spaces. Empirically, HousE achieves new state-of-the-art performance on five benchmark datasets. Our code is available at

Tue 19 July 10:45 - 10:50 PDT

Interpretable and Generalizable Graph Learning via Stochastic Attention Mechanism

Siqi Miao · Mia Liu · Pan Li

Interpretable graph learning is in need as many scientific applications depend on learning models to collect insights from graph-structured data. Previous works mostly focused on using post-hoc approaches to interpret pre-trained models (graph neural networks in particular). They argue against inherently interpretable models because the good interpretability of these models is often at the cost of their prediction accuracy. However, those post-hoc methods often fail to provide stable interpretation and may extract features that are spuriously correlated with the task. In this work, we address these issues by proposing Graph Stochastic Attention (GSAT). Derived from the information bottleneck principle, GSAT injects stochasticity to the attention weights to block the information from task-irrelevant graph components while learning stochasticity-reduced attention to select task-relevant subgraphs for interpretation. The selected subgraphs provably do not contain patterns that are spuriously correlated with the task under some assumptions. Extensive experiments on eight datasets show that GSAT outperforms the state-of-the-art methods by up to 20% in interpretation AUC and 5% in prediction accuracy. Our code is available at

Tue 19 July 10:50 - 10:55 PDT

ProGCL: Rethinking Hard Negative Mining in Graph Contrastive Learning

Jun Xia · Lirong Wu · Wang Ge · Jintao Chen · Stan Z. Li

Contrastive Learning (CL) has emerged as a dominant technique for unsupervised representation learning which embeds augmented versions of the anchor close to each other (positive samples) and pushes the embeddings of other samples (negatives) apart. As revealed in recent studies, CL can benefit from hard negatives (negatives that are most similar to the anchor). However, we observe limited benefits when we adopt existing hard negative mining techniques of other domains in Graph Contrastive Learning (GCL). We perform both experimental and theoretical analysis on this phenomenon and find it can be attributed to the message passing of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). Unlike CL in other domains, most hard negatives are potentially false negatives (negatives that share the same class with the anchor) if they are selected merely according to the similarities between anchor and themselves, which will undesirably push away the samples of the same class. To remedy this deficiency, we propose an effective method, dubbed \textbf{ProGCL}, to estimate the probability of a negative being true one, which constitutes a more suitable measure for negatives' hardness together with similarity. Additionally, we devise two schemes (i.e., \textbf{ProGCL-weight} and \textbf{ProGCL-mix}) to boost the performance of GCL. Extensive experiments demonstrate that ProGCL brings notable and consistent improvements over base GCL methods and yields multiple state-of-the-art results on several unsupervised benchmarks or even exceeds the performance of supervised ones. Also, ProGCL is readily pluggable into various negatives-based GCL methods for performance improvement. We release the code at \textcolor{magenta}\url{}.

Tue 19 July 10:55 - 11:00 PDT

G$^2$CN: Graph Gaussian Convolution Networks with Concentrated Graph Filters

Mingjie Li · Xiaojun Guo · Yifei Wang · Yisen Wang · Zhouchen Lin

Recently, linear GCNs have shown competitive performance against non-linear ones with less computation cost, and the key lies in their propagation layers. Spectral analysis has been widely adopted in designing and analyzing existing graph propagations. Nevertheless, we notice that existing spectral analysis fails to explain why existing graph propagations with the same global tendency, such as low-pass or high-pass, still yield very different results. Motivated by this situation, we develop a new framework for spectral analysis in this paper called concentration analysis. In particular, we propose three attributes: concentration centre, maximum response, and bandwidth for our analysis. Through a dissection of the limitations of existing graph propagations via the above analysis, we propose a new kind of propagation layer, Graph Gaussian Convolution Networks (G^2CN), in which the three properties are decoupled and the whole structure becomes more flexible and applicable to different kinds of graphs. Extensive experiments show that we can obtain state-of-the-art performance on heterophily and homophily datasets with our proposed G^2CN.

Tue 19 July 11:00 - 11:05 PDT

SpeqNets: Sparsity-aware permutation-equivariant graph networks

Christopher Morris · Gaurav Rattan · Sandra Kiefer · Siamak Ravanbakhsh

While message-passing graph neural networks have clear limitations in approximating permutation-equivariant functions over graphs or general relational data, more expressive, higher-order graph neural networks do not scale to large graphs. They either operate on $k$-order tensors or consider all $k$-node subgraphs, implying an exponential dependence on $k$ in memory requirements, and do not adapt to the sparsity of the graph. By introducing new heuristics for the graph isomorphism problem, we devise a class of universal, permutation-equivariant graph networks, which, unlike previous architectures, offer a fine-grained control between expressivity and scalability and adapt to the sparsity of the graph. These architectures lead to vastly reduced computation times compared to standard higher-order graph networks in the supervised node- and graph-level classification and regression regime while significantly improving standard graph neural network and graph kernel architectures in terms of predictive performance.

Tue 19 July 11:05 - 11:25 PDT

data2vec: A General Framework for Self-supervised Learning in Speech, Vision and Language

Alexei Baevski · Wei-Ning Hsu · Qiantong Xu · Arun Babu · Jiatao Gu · Michael Auli

While the general idea of self-supervised learning is identical across modalities, the actual algorithms and objectives differ widely because they were developed with a single modality in mind. To get us closer to general self-supervised learning, we present data2vec, a framework that uses the same learning method for either speech, NLP or computer vision. The core idea is to predict latent representations of the full input data based on a masked view of the input in a self-distillation setup using a standard Transformer architecture. Instead of predicting modality-specific targets such as words, visual tokens or units of human speech which are local in nature, data2vec predicts contextualized latent representations that contain information from the entire input. Experiments on the major benchmarks of speech recognition, image classification, and natural language understanding demonstrate a new state of the art or competitive performance to predominant approaches.

Tue 19 July 11:25 - 11:30 PDT

Position Prediction as an Effective Pretraining Strategy

Shuangfei Zhai · Navdeep Jaitly · Jason Ramapuram · Dan Busbridge · Tatiana Likhomanenko · Joseph Cheng · Walter Talbott · Chen Huang · Hanlin Goh · Joshua M Susskind

Transformers \cite{transformer} have gained increasing popularity in a wide range of applications, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computer Vision and Speech Recognition, because of their powerful representational capacity. However, harnessing this representational capacity effectively requires a large amount of data, strong regularization, or both, to mitigate overfitting. Recently, the power of the Transformer has been unlocked by self-supervised pretraining strategies based on masked autoencoderswhich rely on reconstructing masked inputs, directly, or contrastively from unmasked content. This pretraining strategy which has been used in BERT models in NLP \cite{bert}, Wav2Vec models in Speech \cite{wv2v2} and, recently, in MAE models in Vision \cite{beit, mae}, forces the model to learn about relationships between the content in different parts of the input using autoencoding related objectives. In this paper, we propose a novel, but surprisingly simple alternative to content reconstruction~-- that of predicting locations from content, without providing positional information for it. Doing so requires the Transformer to understand the positional relationships between different parts of the input, from their content alone. This amounts to an efficient implementation where the pretext task is a classification problem among all possible positions for each input token. We experiment on both Vision and Speech benchmarks, where our approach brings improvements over strong supervised training baselines and is comparable to modern unsupervised/self-supervised pretraining methods. Our method also enables Transformers trained without position embeddings to outperform ones trained with full position information.

Tue 19 July 11:30 - 11:35 PDT

Orchestra: Unsupervised Federated Learning via Globally Consistent Clustering

Ekdeep Singh Lubana · Chi Ian Tang · Fahim Kawsar · Robert Dick · Akhil Mathur

Federated learning is generally used in tasks where labels are readily available (e.g., next word prediction). Relaxing this constraint requires design of unsupervised learning techniques that can support desirable properties for federated training: robustness to statistical/systems heterogeneity, scalability with number of participants, and communication efficiency. Prior work on this topic has focused on directly extending centralized self-supervised learning techniques, which are not designed to have the properties listed above. To address this situation, we propose Orchestra, a novel unsupervised federated learning technique that exploits the federation's hierarchy to orchestrate a distributed clustering task and enforce a globally consistent partitioning of clients' data into discriminable clusters. We show the algorithmic pipeline in Orchestra guarantees good generalization performance under a linear probe, allowing it to outperform alternative techniques in a broad range of conditions, including variation in heterogeneity, number of clients, participation ratio, and local epochs.

Tue 19 July 11:35 - 11:40 PDT

Deep and Flexible Graph Neural Architecture Search

Wentao Zhang · Zheyu Lin · Yu Shen · Yang Li · Zhi Yang · Bin Cui

Graph neural networks (GNNs) have been intensively applied to various graph-based applications. Despite their success, designing good GNN architectures is non-trivial, which heavily relies on lots of human efforts and domain knowledge. Although several attempts have been made in graph neural architecture search, they suffer from the following limitations: 1) fixed pipeline pattern of propagation (P) and (T) transformation operations; 2) restricted pipeline depth of GNN architectures. This paper proposes DFG-NAS, a novel method that searches for deep and flexible GNN architectures. Unlike most existing methods that focus on micro-architecture, DFG-NAS highlights another level of design: the search for macro-architectures of how atomic P and T are integrated and organized into a GNN. Concretely, DFG-NAS proposes a novel-designed search space for the P-T permutations and combinations based on the message-passing dis-aggregation, and defines various mutation strategies and employs the evolutionary algorithm to conduct an efficient and effective search. Empirical studies on four benchmark datasets demonstrate that DFG-NAS could find more powerful architectures than state-of-the-art manual designs and meanwhile are more efficient than the current graph neural architecture search approaches.

Tue 19 July 11:40 - 11:45 PDT

GNNRank: Learning Global Rankings from Pairwise Comparisons via Directed Graph Neural Networks

Yixuan He · Quan Gan · David Wipf · Gesine Reinert · Junchi Yan · Mihai Cucuringu

Recovering global rankings from pairwise comparisons has wide applications from time synchronization to sports team ranking. Pairwise comparisons corresponding to matches in a competition can be construed as edges in a directed graph (digraph), whose nodes represent e.g. competitors with an unknown rank. In this paper, we introduce neural networks into the ranking recovery problem by proposing the so-called GNNRank, a trainable GNN-based framework with digraph embedding. Moreover, new objectives are devised to encode ranking upsets/violations. The framework involves a ranking score estimation approach, and adds an inductive bias by unfolding the Fiedler vector computation of the graph constructed from a learnable similarity matrix. Experimental results on extensive data sets show that our methods attain competitive and often superior performance against baselines, as well as showing promising transfer ability. Codes and preprocessed data are at: \url{}.

Tue 19 July 11:45 - 11:50 PDT

Large-Scale Graph Neural Architecture Search

Chaoyu Guan · Xin Wang · Hong Chen · Ziwei Zhang · Wenwu Zhu

Graph Neural Architecture Search (GNAS) has become a powerful method in automatically discovering suitable Graph Neural Network (GNN) architectures for different tasks. However, existing approaches fail to handle large-scale graphs because current performance estimation strategies in GNAS are computationally expensive for large-scale graphs and suffer from consistency collapse issues. To tackle these problems, we propose the Graph ArchitectUre Search at Scale (GAUSS) methodthat can handle large-scale graphs by designing an efficient light-weight supernet and the joint architecture-graph sampling.In particular, a graph sampling-based single-path one-shot supernet is proposed to reduce the computation burden.To address the consistency collapse issues, we further explicitly consider the joint architecture-graph sampling through a novel architecture peer learning mechanism on the sampled sub-graphs and an architecture importance sampling algorithm.Our proposed framework is able to smooth the highly non-convex optimization objective and stabilize the architecture sampling process.We provide theoretical analyses on GAUSS and empirically evaluate it on five datasets whose vertex sizes range from 10^4 to 10^8. The experimental results demonstrate substantial improvements of GAUSS over other GNAS baselines on all datasets.To the best of our knowledge, the proposed GAUSS method is the first graph neural architecture search framework that can handle graphs with billions of edges within 1 GPU day.

Tue 19 July 11:50 - 11:55 PDT

Optimization-Induced Graph Implicit Nonlinear Diffusion

Qi Chen · Yifei Wang · Yisen Wang · Jiansheng Yang · Zhouchen Lin

Due to the over-smoothing issue, most existing graph neural networks can only capture limited dependencies with their inherently finite aggregation layers. To overcome this limitation, we propose a new kind of graph convolution, called Graph Implicit Nonlinear Diffusion (GIND), which implicitly has access to infinite hops of neighbors while adaptively aggregating features with nonlinear diffusion to prevent over-smoothing. Notably, we show that the learned representation can be formalized as the minimizer of an explicit convex optimization objective. With this property, we can theoretically characterize the equilibrium of our GIND from an optimization perspective. More interestingly, we can induce new structural variants by modifying the corresponding optimization objective. To be specific, we can embed prior properties to the equilibrium, as well as introducing skip connections to promote training stability. Extensive experiments show that GIND is good at capturing long-range dependencies, and performs well on both homophilic and heterophilic graphs with nonlinear diffusion. Moreover, we show that the optimization-induced variants of our models can boost the performance and improve training stability and efficiency as well. As a result, our GIND obtains significant improvements on both node-level and graph-level tasks.