From Trainable Negative Depth to Edge Heterophily in Graphs

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Yuchen Yan, Yuzhong Chen, Huiyuan Chen, Minghua Xu, Mahashweta Das, Hao Yang, Hanghang Tong


Finding the proper depth $d$ of a graph convolutional network (GCN) that provides strong representation ability has drawn significant attention, yet nonetheless largely remains an open problem for the graph learning community. Although noteworthy progress has been made, the depth or the number of layers of a corresponding GCN is realized by a series of graph convolution operations, which naturally makes $d$ a positive integer ($d \in \mathbb{N}+$). An interesting question is whether breaking the constraint of $\mathbb{N}+$ by making $d$ a real number ($d \in \mathbb{R}$) can bring new insights into graph learning mechanisms. In this work, by redefining GCN's depth $d$ as a trainable parameter continuously adjustable within $(-\infty,+\infty)$, we open a new door of controlling its signal processing capability to model graph homophily/heterophily (nodes with similar/dissimilar labels/attributes tend to be inter-connected). A simple and powerful GCN model TEDGCN, is proposed to retain the simplicity of GCN and meanwhile automatically search for the optimal $d$ without the prior knowledge regarding whether the input graph is homophilic or heterophilic. Negative-valued $d$ intrinsically enables high-pass frequency filtering functionality via augmented topology for graph heterophily. Extensive experiments demonstrate the superiority of TEDGCN on node classification tasks for a variety of homophilic and heterophilic graphs.