Reconstruction for Powerful Graph Representations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Leonardo Cotta, Christopher Morris, Bruno Ribeiro


Graph neural networks (GNNs) have limited expressive power, failing to represent many graph classes correctly. While more expressive graph representation learning (GRL) alternatives can distinguish some of these classes, they are significantly harder to implement, may not scale well, and have not been shown to outperform well-tuned GNNs in real-world tasks. Thus, devising simple, scalable, and expressive GRL architectures that also achieve real-world improvements remains an open challenge. In this work, we show the extent to which graph reconstruction---reconstructing a graph from its subgraphs---can mitigate the theoretical and practical problems currently faced by GRL architectures. First, we leverage graph reconstruction to build two new classes of expressive graph representations. Secondly, we show how graph reconstruction boosts the expressive power of any GNN architecture while being a (provably) powerful inductive bias for invariances to vertex removals. Empirically, we show how reconstruction can boost GNN's expressive power---while maintaining its invariance to permutations of the vertices---by solving seven graph property tasks not solvable by the original GNN. Further, we demonstrate how it boosts state-of-the-art GNN's performance across nine real-world benchmark datasets.