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Tristan Brugère, Zhengchao Wan, Yusu Wang

(Directed) graphs with node attributes are a common type of data in various applications and there is a vast literature on developing metrics and efficient algorithms for comparing them. Recently, in the graph learning and optimization communities, a range of new approaches have been developed for comparing graphs with node attributes, leveraging ideas such as the Optimal Transport (OT) and the Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) graph isomorphism test. Two state-of-the-art representatives are the OTC distance proposed by O'Connor et al., 2022 and the WL distance by Chen et al.,2022. Interestingly, while these two distances are developed based on different ideas, we observe that they both view graphs as Markov chains, and are deeply connected. Indeed, in this paper, we propose a unified framework to generate distances for Markov chains (thus including (directed) graphs with node attributes), which we call the Optimal Transport Markov (OTM) distances, that encompass both the OTC and the WL distances. We further introduce a special one-parameter family of distances within our OTM framework, called the discounted WL distance. We show that the discounted WL distance has nice theoretical properties and can address several limitations of the existing OTC and WL distances. Furthermore, contrary to the OTC and the WL distances, we show our new discounted WL distance can be differentiated (after an entropy-regularization similar to the Sinkhorn distance), making it suitable for use in learning frameworks, e.g., as the reconstruction loss in a graph generative model.

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Mitchell Black, Amir Nayyeri, Zhengchao Wan, Yusu Wang

Message passing graph neural networks are popular learning architectures for graph-structured data. However, it can be challenging for them to capture long range interactions in graphs. One of the potential reasons is the so-called oversquashing problem, first termed in [Alon and Yahav, 2020], that has recently received significant attention. In this paper, we analyze the oversquashing problem through the lens of effective resistance between nodes in the input graphs. The concept of effective resistance intuitively captures the "strength" of connection between two nodes by paths in the graph, and has a rich literature connecting spectral graph theory and circuit networks theory. We propose the use the concept of total effective resistance as a measure to quantify the total amount of oversquashing in a graph, and provide theoretical justification of its use. We further develop algorithms to identify edges to be added to an input graph so as to minimize the total effective resistance, thereby alleviating the oversquashing problem when using GNNs. We provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of our total effective resistance based rewiring strategies.

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Samantha Chen, Sunhyuk Lim, Facundo Mémoli, Zhengchao Wan, Yusu Wang

In this paper, we present a novel interpretation of the so-called Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) distance, introduced by Chen et al. (2022), using concepts from stochastic processes. The WL distance aims at comparing graphs with node features, has the same discriminative power as the classic Weisfeiler-Lehman graph isomorphism test and has deep connections to the Gromov-Wasserstein distance. This new interpretation connects the WL distance to the literature on distances for stochastic processes, which also makes the interpretation of the distance more accessible and intuitive. We further explore the connections between the WL distance and certain Message Passing Neural Networks, and discuss the implications of the WL distance for understanding the Lipschitz property and the universal approximation results for these networks.

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Gal Mishne, Zhengchao Wan, Yusu Wang, Sheng Yang

Given the exponential growth of the volume of the ball w.r.t. its radius, the hyperbolic space is capable of embedding trees with arbitrarily small distortion and hence has received wide attention for representing hierarchical datasets. However, this exponential growth property comes at a price of numerical instability such that training hyperbolic learning models will sometimes lead to catastrophic NaN problems, encountering unrepresentable values in floating point arithmetic. In this work, we carefully analyze the limitation of two popular models for the hyperbolic space, namely, the Poincar\'e ball and the Lorentz model. We first show that, under the 64 bit arithmetic system, the Poincar\'e ball has a relatively larger capacity than the Lorentz model for correctly representing points. Then, we theoretically validate the superiority of the Lorentz model over the Poincar\'e ball from the perspective of optimization. Given the numerical limitations of both models, we identify one Euclidean parametrization of the hyperbolic space which can alleviate these limitations. We further extend this Euclidean parametrization to hyperbolic hyperplanes and exhibits its ability in improving the performance of hyperbolic SVM.

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Samantha Chen, Sunhyuk Lim, Facundo Mémoli, Zhengchao Wan, Yusu Wang

The Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) test is a classical procedure for graph isomorphism testing. The WL test has also been widely used both for designing graph kernels and for analyzing graph neural networks. In this paper, we propose the Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) distance, a notion of distance between labeled measure Markov chains (LMMCs), of which labeled graphs are special cases. The WL distance is polynomial time computable and is also compatible with the WL test in the sense that the former is positive if and only if the WL test can distinguish the two involved graphs. The WL distance captures and compares subtle structures of the underlying LMMCs and, as a consequence of this, it is more discriminating than the distance between graphs used for defining the state-of-the-art Wasserstein Weisfeiler-Lehman graph kernel. Inspired by the structure of the WL distance we identify a neural network architecture on LMMCs which turns out to be universal w.r.t. continuous functions defined on the space of all LMMCs (which includes all graphs) endowed with the WL distance. Finally, the WL distance turns out to be stable w.r.t. a natural variant of the Gromov-Wasserstein (GW) distance for comparing metric Markov chains that we identify. Hence, the WL distance can also be construed as a polynomial time lower bound for the GW distance which is in general NP-hard to compute.

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Kun Jin, Facundo Mémoli, Zhengchao Wan

We introduce the Gaussian transform (GT), an optimal transport inspired iterative method for denoising and enhancing latent structures in datasets. Under the hood, GT generates a new distance function (GT distance) on a given dataset by computing the $\ell^2$-Wasserstein distance between certain Gaussian density estimates obtained by localizing the dataset to individual points. Our contribution is twofold: (1) theoretically, we establish firstly that GT is stable under perturbations and secondly that in the continuous case, each point possesses an asymptotically ellipsoidal neighborhood with respect to the GT distance; (2) computationally, we accelerate GT both by identifying a strategy for reducing the number of matrix square root computations inherent to the $\ell^2$-Wasserstein distance between Gaussian measures, and by avoiding redundant computations of GT distances between points via enhanced neighborhood mechanisms. We also observe that GT is both a generalization and a strengthening of the mean shift (MS) method, and it is also a computationally efficient specialization of the recently proposed Wasserstein Transform (WT) method. We perform extensive experimentation comparing their performance in different scenarios.

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Facundo Mémoli, Zane Smith, Zhengchao Wan

We introduce the Wasserstein transform, a method for enhancing and denoising datasets defined on general metric spaces. The construction draws inspiration from Optimal Transportation ideas. We establish precise connections with the mean shift family of algorithms and establish the stability of both our method and mean shift under data perturbation.

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