FERN: Leveraging Graph Attention Networks for Failure Evaluation and Robust Network Design

by   Chenyi Liu, et al.

Robust network design, which aims to guarantee network availability under various failure scenarios while optimizing performance/cost objectives, has received significant attention. Existing approaches often rely on model-based mixed-integer optimization that is hard to scale or employ deep learning to solve specific engineering problems yet with limited generalizability. In this paper, we show that failure evaluation provides a common kernel to improve the tractability and scalability of existing solutions. By providing a neural network function approximation of this common kernel using graph attention networks, we develop a unified learning-based framework, FERN, for scalable Failure Evaluation and Robust Network design. FERN represents rich problem inputs as a graph and captures both local and global views by attentively performing feature extraction from the graph. It enables a broad range of robust network design problems, including robust network validation, network upgrade optimization, and fault-tolerant traffic engineering that are discussed in this paper, to be recasted with respect to the common kernel and thus computed efficiently using neural networks and over a small set of critical failure scenarios. Extensive experiments on real-world network topologies show that FERN can efficiently and accurately identify key failure scenarios for both OSPF and optimal routing scheme, and generalizes well to different topologies and input traffic patterns. It can speed up multiple robust network design problems by more than 80x, 200x, 10x, respectively with negligible performance gap.


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