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Pietro Liò

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AMES: A Differentiable Embedding Space Selection Framework for Latent Graph Inference

Nov 20, 2023
Yuan Lu, Haitz Sáez de Ocáriz Borde, Pietro Liò

In real-world scenarios, although data entities may possess inherent relationships, the specific graph illustrating their connections might not be directly accessible. Latent graph inference addresses this issue by enabling Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) to operate on point cloud data, dynamically learning the necessary graph structure. These graphs are often derived from a latent embedding space, which can be modeled using Euclidean, hyperbolic, spherical, or product spaces. However, currently, there is no principled differentiable method for determining the optimal embedding space. In this work, we introduce the Attentional Multi-Embedding Selection (AMES) framework, a differentiable method for selecting the best embedding space for latent graph inference through backpropagation, considering a downstream task. Our framework consistently achieves comparable or superior results compared to previous methods for latent graph inference across five benchmark datasets. Importantly, our approach eliminates the need for conducting multiple experiments to identify the optimal embedding space. Furthermore, we explore interpretability techniques that track the gradient contributions of different latent graphs, shedding light on how our attention-based, fully differentiable approach learns to choose the appropriate latent space. In line with previous works, our experiments emphasize the advantages of hyperbolic spaces in enhancing performance. More importantly, our interpretability framework provides a general approach for quantitatively comparing embedding spaces across different tasks based on their contributions, a dimension that has been overlooked in previous literature on latent graph inference.

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Traffic Video Object Detection using Motion Prior

Nov 16, 2023
Lihao Liu, Yanqi Cheng, Dongdong Chen, Jing He, Pietro Liò, Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb, Angelica I Aviles-Rivero

Traffic videos inherently differ from generic videos in their stationary camera setup, thus providing a strong motion prior where objects often move in a specific direction over a short time interval. Existing works predominantly employ generic video object detection framework for traffic video object detection, which yield certain advantages such as broad applicability and robustness to diverse scenarios. However, they fail to harness the strength of motion prior to enhance detection accuracy. In this work, we propose two innovative methods to exploit the motion prior and boost the performance of both fully-supervised and semi-supervised traffic video object detection. Firstly, we introduce a new self-attention module that leverages the motion prior to guide temporal information integration in the fully-supervised setting. Secondly, we utilise the motion prior to develop a pseudo-labelling mechanism to eliminate noisy pseudo labels for the semi-supervised setting. Both of our motion-prior-centred methods consistently demonstrates superior performance, outperforming existing state-of-the-art approaches by a margin of 2% in terms of mAP.

* 11 pages, 4 figures 
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From Charts to Atlas: Merging Latent Spaces into One

Nov 11, 2023
Donato Crisostomi, Irene Cannistraci, Luca Moschella, Pietro Barbiero, Marco Ciccone, Pietro Liò, Emanuele Rodolà

Models trained on semantically related datasets and tasks exhibit comparable inter-sample relations within their latent spaces. We investigate in this study the aggregation of such latent spaces to create a unified space encompassing the combined information. To this end, we introduce Relative Latent Space Aggregation, a two-step approach that first renders the spaces comparable using relative representations, and then aggregates them via a simple mean. We carefully divide a classification problem into a series of learning tasks under three different settings: sharing samples, classes, or neither. We then train a model on each task and aggregate the resulting latent spaces. We compare the aggregated space with that derived from an end-to-end model trained over all tasks and show that the two spaces are similar. We then observe that the aggregated space is better suited for classification, and empirically demonstrate that it is due to the unique imprints left by task-specific embedders within the representations. We finally test our framework in scenarios where no shared region exists and show that it can still be used to merge the spaces, albeit with diminished benefits over naive merging.

* To appear in the NeurReps workshop @ NeurIPS 2023 
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SQLformer: Deep Auto-Regressive Query Graph Generation for Text-to-SQL Translation

Oct 27, 2023
Adrián Bazaga, Pietro Liò, Gos Micklem

In recent years, there has been growing interest in text-to-SQL translation, which is the task of converting natural language questions into executable SQL queries. This technology is important for its potential to democratize data extraction from databases. However, some of its key hurdles include domain generalisation, which is the ability to adapt to previously unseen databases, and alignment of natural language questions with the corresponding SQL queries. To overcome these challenges, we introduce SQLformer, a novel Transformer architecture specifically crafted to perform text-to-SQL translation tasks. Our model predicts SQL queries as abstract syntax trees (ASTs) in an autoregressive way, incorporating structural inductive bias in the encoder and decoder layers. This bias, guided by database table and column selection, aids the decoder in generating SQL query ASTs represented as graphs in a Breadth-First Search canonical order. Comprehensive experiments illustrate the state-of-the-art performance of SQLformer in the challenging text-to-SQL Spider benchmark. Our implementation is available at

* 11 pages, 4 figures 
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Sheaf Hypergraph Networks

Sep 29, 2023
Iulia Duta, Giulia Cassarà, Fabrizio Silvestri, Pietro Liò

Higher-order relations are widespread in nature, with numerous phenomena involving complex interactions that extend beyond simple pairwise connections. As a result, advancements in higher-order processing can accelerate the growth of various fields requiring structured data. Current approaches typically represent these interactions using hypergraphs. We enhance this representation by introducing cellular sheaves for hypergraphs, a mathematical construction that adds extra structure to the conventional hypergraph while maintaining their local, higherorder connectivity. Drawing inspiration from existing Laplacians in the literature, we develop two unique formulations of sheaf hypergraph Laplacians: linear and non-linear. Our theoretical analysis demonstrates that incorporating sheaves into the hypergraph Laplacian provides a more expressive inductive bias than standard hypergraph diffusion, creating a powerful instrument for effectively modelling complex data structures. We employ these sheaf hypergraph Laplacians to design two categories of models: Sheaf Hypergraph Neural Networks and Sheaf Hypergraph Convolutional Networks. These models generalize classical Hypergraph Networks often found in the literature. Through extensive experimentation, we show that this generalization significantly improves performance, achieving top results on multiple benchmark datasets for hypergraph node classification.

* Accepted at Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2023) 
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Unsupervised Fact Verification by Language Model Distillation

Sep 28, 2023
Adrián Bazaga, Pietro Liò, Gos Micklem

Unsupervised fact verification aims to verify a claim using evidence from a trustworthy knowledge base without any kind of data annotation. To address this challenge, algorithms must produce features for every claim that are both semantically meaningful, and compact enough to find a semantic alignment with the source information. In contrast to previous work, which tackled the alignment problem by learning over annotated corpora of claims and their corresponding labels, we propose SFAVEL (Self-supervised Fact Verification via Language Model Distillation), a novel unsupervised framework that leverages pre-trained language models to distil self-supervised features into high-quality claim-fact alignments without the need for annotations. This is enabled by a novel contrastive loss function that encourages features to attain high-quality claim and evidence alignments whilst preserving the semantic relationships across the corpora. Notably, we present results that achieve a new state-of-the-art on the standard FEVER fact verification benchmark (+8% accuracy) with linear evaluation.

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Graph Neural Stochastic Differential Equations

Aug 23, 2023
Richard Bergna, Felix Opolka, Pietro Liò, Jose Miguel Hernandez-Lobato

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We present a novel model Graph Neural Stochastic Differential Equations (Graph Neural SDEs). This technique enhances the Graph Neural Ordinary Differential Equations (Graph Neural ODEs) by embedding randomness into data representation using Brownian motion. This inclusion allows for the assessment of prediction uncertainty, a crucial aspect frequently missed in current models. In our framework, we spotlight the \textit{Latent Graph Neural SDE} variant, demonstrating its effectiveness. Through empirical studies, we find that Latent Graph Neural SDEs surpass conventional models like Graph Convolutional Networks and Graph Neural ODEs, especially in confidence prediction, making them superior in handling out-of-distribution detection across both static and spatio-temporal contexts.

* 9 main pages, 6 of appendix (15 in total), submitted for the Learning on Graph (LoG) conference 
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Will More Expressive Graph Neural Networks do Better on Generative Tasks?

Aug 23, 2023
Xiandong Zou, Xiangyu Zhao, Pietro Liò, Yiren Zhao

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Graph generation poses a significant challenge as it involves predicting a complete graph with multiple nodes and edges based on simply a given label. This task also carries fundamental importance to numerous real-world applications, including de-novo drug and molecular design. In recent years, several successful methods have emerged in the field of graph generation. However, these approaches suffer from two significant shortcomings: (1) the underlying Graph Neural Network (GNN) architectures used in these methods are often underexplored; and (2) these methods are often evaluated on only a limited number of metrics. To fill this gap, we investigate the expressiveness of GNNs under the context of the molecular graph generation task, by replacing the underlying GNNs of graph generative models with more expressive GNNs. Specifically, we analyse the performance of six GNNs in two different generative frameworks (GCPN and GraphAF), on six different molecular generative objectives on the ZINC-250k dataset. Through our extensive experiments, we demonstrate that advanced GNNs can indeed improve the performance of GCPN and GraphAF on molecular generation tasks, but GNN expressiveness is not a necessary condition for a good GNN-based generative model. Moreover, we show that GCPN and GraphAF with advanced GNNs can achieve state-of-the-art results across 17 other non-GNN-based graph generative approaches, such as variational autoencoders and Bayesian optimisation models, on the proposed molecular generative objectives (DRD2, Median1, Median2), which are important metrics for de-novo molecular design.

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Topological Graph Signal Compression

Aug 21, 2023
Guillermo Bernárdez, Lev Telyatnikov, Eduard Alarcón, Albert Cabellos-Aparicio, Pere Barlet-Ros, Pietro Liò

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Recently emerged Topological Deep Learning (TDL) methods aim to extend current Graph Neural Networks (GNN) by naturally processing higher-order interactions, going beyond the pairwise relations and local neighborhoods defined by graph representations. In this paper we propose a novel TDL-based method for compressing signals over graphs, consisting in two main steps: first, disjoint sets of higher-order structures are inferred based on the original signal --by clustering $N$ datapoints into $K\ll N$ collections; then, a topological-inspired message passing gets a compressed representation of the signal within those multi-element sets. Our results show that our framework improves both standard GNN and feed-forward architectures in compressing temporal link-based signals from two real-word Internet Service Provider Networks' datasets --from $30\%$ up to $90\%$ better reconstruction errors across all evaluation scenarios--, suggesting that it better captures and exploits spatial and temporal correlations over the whole graph-based network structure.

* 9 pages, 5 figures, 2 tables 
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Neural Priority Queues for Graph Neural Networks

Jul 18, 2023
Rishabh Jain, Petar Veličković, Pietro Liò

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Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have shown considerable success in neural algorithmic reasoning. Many traditional algorithms make use of an explicit memory in the form of a data structure. However, there has been limited exploration on augmenting GNNs with external memory. In this paper, we present Neural Priority Queues, a differentiable analogue to algorithmic priority queues, for GNNs. We propose and motivate a desiderata for memory modules, and show that Neural PQs exhibit the desiderata, and reason about their use with algorithmic reasoning. This is further demonstrated by empirical results on the CLRS-30 dataset. Furthermore, we find the Neural PQs useful in capturing long-range interactions, as empirically shown on a dataset from the Long-Range Graph Benchmark.

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