Learning Invariant Representations of Graph Neural Networks via Cluster Generalization

Donglin Xia · Xiao Wang · Nian Liu · Chuan Shi


Graph neural networks (GNNs) have become increasingly popular in modeling graph-structured data due to their ability to learn node representations by aggregating local structure information. However, it is widely acknowledged that the test graph structure may differ from the training graph structure, resulting in a structure shift. In this paper, we experimentally find that the performance of GNNs drops significantly when the structure shift happens, suggesting that the learned models may be biased towards specific structure patterns. To address this challenge, we propose the Cluster Information Transfer (\textbf{CIT}) mechanism, which can learn invariant representations for GNNs, thereby improving their generalization ability to various and unknown test graphs with structure shift. The CIT mechanism achieves this by combining different cluster information with the nodes while preserving their cluster-independent information. By generating nodes across different clusters, the mechanism significantly enhances the diversity of the nodes and helps GNNs learn the invariant representations. We provide a theoretical analysis of the CIT mechanism, showing that the impact of changing clusters during structure shift can be mitigated after transfer. Additionally, the proposed mechanism is a plug-in that can be easily used to improve existing GNNs. We comprehensively evaluate our proposed method on three typical structure shift scenarios, demonstrating its effectiveness in enhancing GNNs' performance.

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