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Re-Think and Re-Design Graph Neural Networks in Spaces of Continuous Graph Diffusion Functionals

Tingting Dan · Jiaqi Ding · Ziquan Wei · Shahar Kovalsky · Minjeong Kim · Won Hwa Kim · Guorong Wu

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #623
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Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST

Abstract: Graphs are ubiquitous in various domains, such as social networks and biological systems. Despite the great successes of graph neural networks (GNNs) in modeling and analyzing complex graph data, the inductive bias of locality assumption, which involves exchanging information only within neighboring connected nodes, restricts GNNs in capturing long-range dependencies and global patterns in graphs. Inspired by the classic Brachistochrone problem, we seek how to devise a new inductive bias for cutting-edge graph application and present a general framework through the lens of variational analysis. The backbone of our framework is a two-way mapping between the discrete GNN model and continuous diffusion functional, which allows us to design application-specific objective function in the continuous domain and engineer discrete deep model with mathematical guarantees. First, we address over-smoothing in current GNNs. Specifically, our inference reveals that the existing layer-by-layer models of graph embedding learning are equivalent to a ${\ell _2}$-norm integral functional of graph gradients, which is the underlying cause of the over-smoothing problem. Similar to edge-preserving filters in image denoising, we introduce the total variation (TV) to promote alignment of the graph diffusion pattern with the global information present in community topologies. On top of this, we devise a new selective mechanism for inductive bias that can be easily integrated into existing GNNs and effectively address the trade-off between model depth and over-smoothing. Second, we devise a novel generative adversarial network (GAN) to predict the spreading flows in the graph through a neural transport equation. To avoid the potential issue of vanishing flows, we tailor the objective function to minimize the transportation within each community while maximizing the inter-community flows. Our new GNN models achieve state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance on graph learning benchmarks such as Cora, Citeseer, and Pubmed.

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