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On the equivalence between graph isomorphism testing and function approximation with GNNs

by   Zhengdao Chen, et al.
NYU college

Graph neural networks (GNNs) have achieved lots of success on graph-structured data. In the light of this, there has been increasing interest in studying their representation power. One line of work focuses on the universal approximation of permutation-invariant functions by certain classes of GNNs, and another demonstrates the limitation of GNNs via graph isomorphism tests. Our work connects these two perspectives and proves their equivalence. We further develop a framework of the representation power of GNNs with the language of sigma-algebra, which incorporates both viewpoints. Using this framework, we compare the expressive power of different classes of GNNs as well as other methods on graphs. In particular, we prove that order-2 Graph G-invariant networks fail to distinguish non-isomorphic regular graphs with the same degree. We then extend them to a new architecture, Ring-GNNs, which succeeds on distinguishing these graphs and provides improvements on real-world social network datasets.


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