Relational Attention: Generalizing Transformers for Graph-Structured TasksDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023ICLR 2023 notable top 25%Readers: Everyone
Keywords: Graph Neural Networks, Transformers, Graph Representation Learning, Neural Algorithmic Reasoning
TL;DR: We generalize transformer attention to include edge vectors, which are then updated along with the standard node vectors in each layer of a transformer's computation.
Abstract: Transformers flexibly operate over sets of real-valued vectors representing task-specific entities and their attributes, where each vector might encode one word-piece token and its position in a sequence, or some piece of information that carries no position at all. As set processors, transformers are at a disadvantage in reasoning over more general graph-structured data where nodes represent entities and edges represent relations between entities. To address this shortcoming, we generalize transformer attention to consider and update edge vectors in each transformer layer. We evaluate this relational transformer on a diverse array of graph-structured tasks, including the large and challenging CLRS Algorithmic Reasoning Benchmark. There, it dramatically outperforms state-of-the-art graph neural networks expressly designed to reason over graph-structured data. Our analysis demonstrates that these gains are attributable to relational attention's inherent ability to leverage the greater expressivity of graphs over sets.
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