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Local Vertex Colouring Graph Neural Networks

Shouheng Li · Dongwoo Kim · Qing Wang

Exhibit Hall 1 #229
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In recent years, there has been a significant amount of research focused on expanding the expressivity of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) beyond the Weisfeiler-Lehman (1-WL) framework. While many of these studies have yielded advancements in expressivity, they have frequently come at the expense of decreased efficiency or have been restricted to specific types of graphs. In this study, we investigate the expressivity of GNNs from the perspective of graph search. Specifically, we propose a new vertex colouring scheme and demonstrate that classical search algorithms can efficiently compute graph representations that extend beyond the 1-WL. We show the colouring scheme inherits useful properties from graph search that can help solve problems like graph biconnectivity. Furthermore, we show that under certain conditions, the expressivity of GNNs increases hierarchically with the radius of the search neighbourhood. To further investigate the proposed scheme, we develop a new type of GNN based on two search strategies, breadth-first search and depth-first search, highlighting the graph properties they can capture on top of 1-WL. Our code is available at

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