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Locality-Aware Graph Rewiring in GNNs

Federico Barbero
Amin Saberi
Michael Bronstein
Francesco Di Giovanni
ICLR 2024
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Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) are popular models for machine learning on graphs that typically follow the message-passing paradigm, whereby the feature of a node is updated recursively upon aggregating information over its neighbors. While exchanging messages over the input graph endows GNNs with a strong inductive bias, it can also make GNNs susceptible to \emph{over-squashing}, thereby preventing them from capturing long-range interactions in the given graph. To rectify this issue, {\em graph rewiring} techniques have been proposed as a means of improving information flow by altering the graph connectivity. In this work, we identify three desiderata for graph-rewiring: (i) reduce over-squashing, (ii) respect the locality of the graph, and (iii) preserve the sparsity of the graph. We highlight fundamental trade-offs that occur between {\em spatial} and {\em spectral} rewiring techniques; while the former often satisfy (i) and (ii) but not (iii), the latter generally satisfy (i) and (iii) at the expense of (ii). We propose a novel rewiring framework that satisfies all of (i)--(iii) through a locality-aware sequence of rewiring operations. We then discuss a specific instance of such rewiring framework and validate its effectiveness on several real-world benchmarks, showing that it either matches or significantly outperforms existing rewiring approaches.

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