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Sixiao Zhang, Hongzhi Yin, Hongxu Chen, Cheng Long

The robustness of recommender systems has become a prominent topic within the research community. Numerous adversarial attacks have been proposed, but most of them rely on extensive prior knowledge, such as all the white-box attacks or most of the black-box attacks which assume that certain external knowledge is available. Among these attacks, the model extraction attack stands out as a promising and practical method, involving training a surrogate model by repeatedly querying the target model. However, there is a significant gap in the existing literature when it comes to defending against model extraction attacks on recommender systems. In this paper, we introduce Gradient-based Ranking Optimization (GRO), which is the first defense strategy designed to counter such attacks. We formalize the defense as an optimization problem, aiming to minimize the loss of the protected target model while maximizing the loss of the attacker's surrogate model. Since top-k ranking lists are non-differentiable, we transform them into swap matrices which are instead differentiable. These swap matrices serve as input to a student model that emulates the surrogate model's behavior. By back-propagating the loss of the student model, we obtain gradients for the swap matrices. These gradients are used to compute a swap loss, which maximizes the loss of the student model. We conducted experiments on three benchmark datasets to evaluate the performance of GRO, and the results demonstrate its superior effectiveness in defending against model extraction attacks.

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Haoran Yang, Xiangyu Zhao, Muyang Li, Hongxu Chen, Guandong Xu

Graph learning models are critical tools for researchers to explore graph-structured data. To train a capable graph learning model, a conventional method uses sufficient training data to train a graph model on a single device. However, it is prohibitive to do so in real-world scenarios due to privacy concerns. Federated learning provides a feasible solution to address such limitations via introducing various privacy-preserving mechanisms, such as differential privacy on graph edges. Nevertheless, differential privacy in federated graph learning secures the classified information maintained in graphs. It degrades the performances of the graph learning models. In this paper, we investigate how to implement differential privacy on graph edges and observe the performances decreasing in the experiments. We also note that the differential privacy on graph edges introduces noises to perturb graph proximity, which is one of the graph augmentations in graph contrastive learning. Inspired by that, we propose to leverage the advantages of graph contrastive learning to alleviate the performance dropping caused by differential privacy. Extensive experiments are conducted with several representative graph models and widely-used datasets, showing that contrastive learning indeed alleviates the models' performance dropping caused by differential privacy.

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Haoran Yang, Hongxu Chen, Sixiao Zhang, Xiangguo Sun, Qian Li, Guandong Xu

Graph contrastive learning has emerged as a powerful tool for unsupervised graph representation learning. The key to the success of graph contrastive learning is to acquire high-quality positive and negative samples as contrasting pairs for the purpose of learning underlying structural semantics of the input graph. Recent works usually sample negative samples from the same training batch with the positive samples, or from an external irrelevant graph. However, a significant limitation lies in such strategies, which is the unavoidable problem of sampling false negative samples. In this paper, we propose a novel method to utilize \textbf{C}ounterfactual mechanism to generate artificial hard negative samples for \textbf{G}raph \textbf{C}ontrastive learning, namely \textbf{CGC}, which has a different perspective compared to those sampling-based strategies. We utilize counterfactual mechanism to produce hard negative samples, which ensures that the generated samples are similar to, but have labels that different from the positive sample. The proposed method achieves satisfying results on several datasets compared to some traditional unsupervised graph learning methods and some SOTA graph contrastive learning methods. We also conduct some supplementary experiments to give an extensive illustration of the proposed method, including the performances of CGC with different hard negative samples and evaluations for hard negative samples generated with different similarity measurements.

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Zhenfeng He, Yuqiang Han, Zhenqiu Ouyang, Wei Gao, Hongxu Chen, Guandong Xu, Jian Wu

Medication recommendation is a crucial task for intelligent healthcare systems. Previous studies mainly recommend medications with electronic health records(EHRs). However, some details of interactions between doctors and patients may be ignored in EHRs, which are essential for automatic medication recommendation. Therefore, we make the first attempt to recommend medications with the conversations between doctors and patients. In this work, we construct DialMed, the first high-quality dataset for medical dialogue-based medication recommendation task. It contains 11,996 medical dialogues related to 16 common diseases from 3 departments and 70 corresponding common medications. Furthermore, we propose a Dialogue structure and Disease knowledge aware Network(DDN), where a graph attention network is utilized to model the dialogue structure and the knowledge graph is used to introduce external disease knowledge. The extensive experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method is a promising solution to recommend medications with medical dialogues. The dataset and code are available at https://github.com/Hhhhhhhzf/DialMed.

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Hongxu Chen, Sixiao Zhang, Guandong Xu

Transformers have achieved state-of-the-art performance in learning graph representations. However, there are still some challenges when applying transformers to real-world scenarios due to the fact that deep transformers are hard to be trained from scratch and the memory consumption is large. To address the two challenges, we propose Graph Masked Autoencoders (GMAE), a self-supervised model for learning graph representations, where vanilla graph transformers are used as the encoder and the decoder. GMAE takes partially masked graphs as input, and reconstructs the features of the masked nodes. We adopt asymmetric encoder-decoder design, where the encoder is a deep graph transformer and the decoder is a shallow graph transformer. The masking mechanism and the asymmetric design make GMAE a memory-efficient model compared with conventional transformers. We show that, compared with training from scratch, the graph transformer pre-trained using GMAE can achieve much better performance after fine-tuning. We also show that, when serving as a conventional self-supervised graph representation model and using an SVM model as the downstream graph classifier, GMAE achieves state-of-the-art performance on 5 of the 7 benchmark datasets.

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Sixiao Zhang, Hongxu Chen, Xiangguo Sun, Yicong Li, Guandong Xu

Graph contrastive learning is the state-of-the-art unsupervised graph representation learning framework and has shown comparable performance with supervised approaches. However, evaluating whether the graph contrastive learning is robust to adversarial attacks is still an open problem because most existing graph adversarial attacks are supervised models, which means they heavily rely on labels and can only be used to evaluate the graph contrastive learning in a specific scenario. For unsupervised graph representation methods such as graph contrastive learning, it is difficult to acquire labels in real-world scenarios, making traditional supervised graph attack methods difficult to be applied to test their robustness. In this paper, we propose a novel unsupervised gradient-based adversarial attack that does not rely on labels for graph contrastive learning. We compute the gradients of the adjacency matrices of the two views and flip the edges with gradient ascent to maximize the contrastive loss. In this way, we can fully use multiple views generated by the graph contrastive learning models and pick the most informative edges without knowing their labels, and therefore can promisingly support our model adapted to more kinds of downstream tasks. Extensive experiments show that our attack outperforms unsupervised baseline attacks and has comparable performance with supervised attacks in multiple downstream tasks including node classification and link prediction. We further show that our attack can be transferred to other graph representation models as well.

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Haoran Yang, Hongxu Chen, Shirui Pan, Lin Li, Philip S. Yu, Guandong Xu

Unsupervised graph representation learning has emerged as a powerful tool to address real-world problems and achieves huge success in the graph learning domain. Graph contrastive learning is one of the unsupervised graph representation learning methods, which recently attracts attention from researchers and has achieved state-of-the-art performances on various tasks. The key to the success of graph contrastive learning is to construct proper contrasting pairs to acquire the underlying structural semantics of the graph. However, this key part is not fully explored currently, most of the ways generating contrasting pairs focus on augmenting or perturbating graph structures to obtain different views of the input graph. But such strategies could degrade the performances via adding noise into the graph, which may narrow down the field of the applications of graph contrastive learning. In this paper, we propose a novel graph contrastive learning method, namely \textbf{D}ual \textbf{S}pace \textbf{G}raph \textbf{C}ontrastive (DSGC) Learning, to conduct graph contrastive learning among views generated in different spaces including the hyperbolic space and the Euclidean space. Since both spaces have their own advantages to represent graph data in the embedding spaces, we hope to utilize graph contrastive learning to bridge the spaces and leverage advantages from both sides. The comparison experiment results show that DSGC achieves competitive or better performances among all the datasets. In addition, we conduct extensive experiments to analyze the impact of different graph encoders on DSGC, giving insights about how to better leverage the advantages of contrastive learning between different spaces.

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Yixin Liu, Yu Zheng, Daokun Zhang, Hongxu Chen, Hao Peng, Shirui Pan

In recent years, graph neural networks (GNNs) have emerged as a successful tool in a variety of graph-related applications. However, the performance of GNNs can be deteriorated when noisy connections occur in the original graph structures; besides, the dependence on explicit structures prevents GNNs from being applied to general unstructured scenarios. To address these issues, recently emerged deep graph structure learning (GSL) methods propose to jointly optimize the graph structure along with GNN under the supervision of a node classification task. Nonetheless, these methods focus on a supervised learning scenario, which leads to several problems, i.e., the reliance on labels, the bias of edge distribution, and the limitation on application tasks. In this paper, we propose a more practical GSL paradigm, unsupervised graph structure learning, where the learned graph topology is optimized by data itself without any external guidance (i.e., labels). To solve the unsupervised GSL problem, we propose a novel StrUcture Bootstrapping contrastive LearnIng fraMEwork (SUBLIME for abbreviation) with the aid of self-supervised contrastive learning. Specifically, we generate a learning target from the original data as an "anchor graph", and use a contrastive loss to maximize the agreement between the anchor graph and the learned graph. To provide persistent guidance, we design a novel bootstrapping mechanism that upgrades the anchor graph with learned structures during model learning. We also design a series of graph learners and post-processing schemes to model the structures to learn. Extensive experiments on eight benchmark datasets demonstrate the significant effectiveness of our proposed SUBLIME and high quality of the optimized graphs.

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Jy-yong Sohn, Liang Shang, Hongxu Chen, Jaekyun Moon, Dimitris Papailiopoulos, Kangwook Lee

Mixup is a data augmentation method that generates new data points by mixing a pair of input data. While mixup generally improves the prediction performance, it sometimes degrades the performance. In this paper, we first identify the main causes of this phenomenon by theoretically and empirically analyzing the mixup algorithm. To resolve this, we propose GenLabel, a simple yet effective relabeling algorithm designed for mixup. In particular, GenLabel helps the mixup algorithm correctly label mixup samples by learning the class-conditional data distribution using generative models. Via extensive theoretical and empirical analysis, we show that mixup, when used together with GenLabel, can effectively resolve the aforementioned phenomenon, improving the generalization performance and the adversarial robustness.

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