Deep Attentive Belief Propagation: Integrating Reasoning and Learning for Solving Constraint Optimization Problems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yanchen Deng, Shufeng Kong, Caihua Liu, Bo An


Belief Propagation (BP) is an important message-passing algorithm for various reasoning tasks over graphical models, including solving the Constraint Optimization Problems (COPs). It has been shown that BP can achieve state-of-the-art performance on various benchmarks by mixing old and new messages before sending the new one, i.e., damping. However, existing methods on tuning a static damping factor for BP not only is laborious but also harms their performance. Moreover, existing BP algorithms treat each variable node's neighbors equally when composing a new message, which also limits their exploration ability. To address these issues, we seamlessly integrate BP, Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs), and Graph Attention Networks (GATs) within the massage-passing framework to reason about dynamic weights and damping factors for composing new BP messages. Our model, Deep Attentive Belief Propagation (DABP), takes the factor graph and the BP messages in each iteration as the input and infers the optimal weights and damping factors through GRUs and GATs, followed by a multi-head attention layer. Furthermore, unlike existing neural-based BP variants, we propose a novel self-supervised learning algorithm for DABP with a smoothed solution cost, which does not require expensive training labels and also avoids the common out-of-distribution issue through efficient online learning. Extensive experiments show that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines.