Optimality of Message-Passing Architectures for Sparse Graphs

Published: 21 Sept 2023, Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023NeurIPS 2023 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: graph neural networks, message passing, bayesian inference, node classification, contextual stochastic block model
TL;DR: We show that message-passing neural networks are optimal node classifiers on sparse feature-decorated graphs.
Abstract: We study the node classification problem on feature-decorated graphs in the sparse setting, i.e., when the expected degree of a node is $O(1)$ in the number of nodes, in the fixed-dimensional asymptotic regime, i.e., the dimension of the feature data is fixed while the number of nodes is large. Such graphs are typically known to be locally tree-like. We introduce a notion of Bayes optimality for node classification tasks, called asymptotic local Bayes optimality, and compute the optimal classifier according to this criterion for a fairly general statistical data model with arbitrary distributions of the node features and edge connectivity. The optimal classifier is implementable using a message-passing graph neural network architecture. We then compute the generalization error of this classifier and compare its performance against existing learning methods theoretically on a well-studied statistical model with naturally identifiable signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in the data. We find that the optimal message-passing architecture interpolates between a standard MLP in the regime of low graph signal and a typical convolution in the regime of high graph signal. Furthermore, we prove a corresponding non-asymptotic result.
Supplementary Material: zip
Submission Number: 13902