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Probing Graph Representations

Mohammad Sadegh Akhondzadeh Tezerjani · Vijay Lingam · Aleksandar Bojchevski

Auditorium 1 Foyer 18


Today we have a good theoretical understanding of the representational power of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). For example, their limitations have been characterized in relation to a hierarchy of Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) isomorphism tests. However, we do not know what is encoded in the learned representations. This is our main question. We answer it using a probing framework to quantify the amount of meaningful information captured in graph representations. Our findings on molecular datasets show the potential of probing for understanding the inductive biases of graph-based models. We compare different families of models, and show that Graph Transformers capture more chemically relevant information compared to models based on message passing. We also study the effect of different design choices such as skip connections and virtual nodes. We advocate for probing as a useful diagnostic tool for evaluating and developing graph-based models.

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