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Top Trends of Graph Machine Learning in 2020


The year 2020 has just started but we can already see the trends of Graph Machine Learning (GML) in the latest research papers. Below is my view on what will be important in 2020 for GML and the discussion of these papers. The goal of this article is not on introducing the basic concepts of GML such as graph neural networks (GNNs), but on exposing cutting-edge research that we can see in the top scientific conferences. For the start, I took the submissions to ICLR 2020, one of the most prestigious conferences to submit your work in GML. There are 150 submissions in GML and every third paper is accepted.

Contrastive Multi-View Representation Learning on Graphs Machine Learning

We introduce a self-supervised approach for learning node and graph level representations by contrasting structural views of graphs. We show that unlike visual representation learning, increasing the number of views to more than two or contrasting multi-scale encodings do not improve performance, and the best performance is achieved by contrasting encodings from first-order neighbors and a graph diffusion. We achieve new state-of-the-art results in self-supervised learning on 8 out of 8 node and graph classification benchmarks under the linear evaluation protocol. For example, on Cora (node) and Reddit-Binary (graph) classification benchmarks, we achieve 86.8% and 84.5% accuracy, which are 5.5% and 2.4% relative improvements over previous state-of-the-art. When compared to supervised baselines, our approach outperforms them in 4 out of 8 benchmarks. Source code is released at:

Graph Cross Networks with Vertex Infomax Pooling Machine Learning

We propose a novel graph cross network (GXN) to achieve comprehensive feature learning from multiple scales of a graph. Based on trainable hierarchical representations of a graph, GXN enables the interchange of intermediate features across scales to promote information flow. Two key ingredients of GXN include a novel vertex infomax pooling (VIPool), which creates multiscale graphs in a trainable manner, and a novel feature-crossing layer, enabling feature interchange across scales. The proposed VIPool selects the most informative subset of vertices based on the neural estimation of mutual information between vertex features and neighborhood features. The intuition behind is that a vertex is informative when it can maximally reflect its neighboring information. The proposed feature-crossing layer fuses intermediate features between two scales for mutual enhancement by improving information flow and enriching multiscale features at hidden layers. The cross shape of the feature-crossing layer distinguishes GXN from many other multiscale architectures. Experimental results show that the proposed GXN improves the classification accuracy by 2.12% and 1.15% on average for graph classification and vertex classification, respectively. Based on the same network, the proposed VIPool consistently outperforms other graph-pooling methods.

DAGCN: Dual Attention Graph Convolutional Networks Machine Learning

Graph convolutional networks (GCNs) have recently become one of the most powerful tools for graph analytics tasks in numerous applications, ranging from social networks and natural language processing to bioinformatics and chemoinformatics, thanks to their ability to capture the complex relationships between concepts. At present, the vast majority of GCNs use a neighborhood aggregation framework to learn a continuous and compact vector, then performing a pooling operation to generalize graph embedding for the classification task. These approaches have two disadvantages in the graph classification task: (1)when only the largest sub-graph structure ($k$-hop neighbor) is used for neighborhood aggregation, a large amount of early-stage information is lost during the graph convolution step; (2) simple average/sum pooling or max pooling utilized, which loses the characteristics of each node and the topology between nodes. In this paper, we propose a novel framework called, dual attention graph convolutional networks (DAGCN) to address these problems. DAGCN automatically learns the importance of neighbors at different hops using a novel attention graph convolution layer, and then employs a second attention component, a self-attention pooling layer, to generalize the graph representation from the various aspects of a matrix graph embedding. The dual attention network is trained in an end-to-end manner for the graph classification task. We compare our model with state-of-the-art graph kernels and other deep learning methods. The experimental results show that our framework not only outperforms other baselines but also achieves a better rate of convergence.

On Positional and Structural Node Features for Graph Neural Networks on Non-attributed Graphs Artificial Intelligence

Graph neural networks (GNNs) have been widely used in various graph-related problems such as node classification and graph classification, where the superior performance is mainly established when natural node features are available. However, it is not well understood how GNNs work without natural node features, especially regarding the various ways to construct artificial ones. In this paper, we point out the two types of artificial node features,i.e., positional and structural node features, and provide insights on why each of them is more appropriate for certain tasks,i.e., positional node classification, structural node classification, and graph classification. Extensive experimental results on 10 benchmark datasets validate our insights, thus leading to a practical guideline on the choices between different artificial node features for GNNs on non-attributed graphs. The code is available at