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Towards Robust Graph Incremental Learning on Evolving Graphs

Junwei Su · Difan Zou · Zijun Zhang · Chuan Wu

Exhibit Hall 1 #305
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Incremental learning is a machine learning approach that involves training a model on a sequence of tasks, rather than all tasks at once. This ability to learn incrementally from a stream of tasks is crucial for many real-world applications. However, incremental learning is a challenging problem on graph-structured data, as many graph-related problems involve prediction tasks for each individual node, known as Node-wise Graph Incremental Learning (NGIL). This introduces non-independent and non-identically distributed characteristics in the sample data generation process, making it difficult to maintain the performance of the model as new tasks are added. In this paper, we focus on the inductive NGIL problem, which accounts for the evolution of graph structure (structural shift) induced by emerging tasks. We provide a formal formulation and analysis of the problem, and propose a novel regularization-based technique called Structural-Shift-Risk-Mitigation (SSRM) to mitigate the impact of the structural shift on catastrophic forgetting of the inductive NGIL problem. We show that the structural shift can lead to a shift in the input distribution for the existing tasks, and further lead to an increased risk of catastrophic forgetting. Through comprehensive empirical studies with several benchmark datasets, we demonstrate that our proposed method, Structural-Shift-Risk-Mitigation (SSRM), is flexible and easy to adapt to improve the performance of state-of-the-art GNN incremental learning frameworks in the inductive setting.

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