Semi-Implicit Graph Variational Auto-Encoders

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Arman Hasanzadeh, Ehsan Hajiramezanali, Krishna Narayanan, Nick Duffield, Mingyuan Zhou, Xiaoning Qian


Semi-implicit graph variational auto-encoder (SIG-VAE) is proposed to expand the flexibility of variational graph auto-encoders (VGAE) to model graph data. SIG-VAE employs a hierarchical variational framework to enable neighboring node sharing for better generative modeling of graph dependency structure, together with a Bernoulli-Poisson link decoder. Not only does this hierarchical construction provide a more flexible generative graph model to better capture real-world graph properties, but also does SIG-VAE naturally lead to semi-implicit hierarchical variational inference that allows faithful modeling of implicit posteriors of given graph data, which may exhibit heavy tails, multiple modes, skewness, and rich dependency structures. SIG-VAE integrates a carefully designed generative model, well suited to model real-world sparse graphs, and a sophisticated variational inference network, which propagates the graph structural information and distribution uncertainty to capture complex posteriors. SIG-VAE clearly outperforms a simple combination of VGAE with variational inference, including semi-implicit variational inference~(SIVI) or normalizing flow (NF), which does not propagate uncertainty in its inference network, and provides more interpretable latent representations than VGAE does. Extensive experiments with a variety of graph data show that SIG-VAE significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods on several different graph analytic tasks.