Recognizing Predictive Substructures with Subgraph Information Bottleneck

by   Junchi Yu, et al.

The emergence of Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) has greatly boosted the progress of graph learning. However, two disturbing factors, noise and redundancy in graph data, and lack of interpretation for prediction results, impede further development of GCN. One solution is to recognize a predictive yet compressed subgraph to get rid of the noise and redundancy and obtain the interpretable part of the graph. This setting of subgraph is similar to the information bottleneck (IB) principle, which is less studied on graph-structured data and GCN. Inspired by the IB principle, we propose a novel subgraph information bottleneck (SIB) framework to recognize such subgraphs, named IB-subgraph. However, the intractability of mutual information and the discrete nature of graph data makes the objective of SIB notoriously hard to optimize. To this end, we introduce a bilevel optimization scheme coupled with a mutual information estimator for irregular graphs. Moreover, we propose a continuous relaxation for subgraph selection with a connectivity loss for stabilization. We further theoretically prove the error bound of our estimation scheme for mutual information and the noise-invariant nature of IB-subgraph. Extensive experiments on graph learning and large-scale point cloud tasks demonstrate the superior property of IB-subgraph.


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