Structure-Aware Convolutional Neural Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Jianlong Chang, Jie Gu, Lingfeng Wang, GAOFENG MENG, SHIMING XIANG, Chunhong Pan


Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are inherently subject to invariable filters that can only aggregate local inputs with the same topological structures. It causes that CNNs are allowed to manage data with Euclidean or grid-like structures (e.g., images), not ones with non-Euclidean or graph structures (e.g., traffic networks). To broaden the reach of CNNs, we develop structure-aware convolution to eliminate the invariance, yielding a unified mechanism of dealing with both Euclidean and non-Euclidean structured data. Technically, filters in the structure-aware convolution are generalized to univariate functions, which are capable of aggregating local inputs with diverse topological structures. Since infinite parameters are required to determine a univariate function, we parameterize these filters with numbered learnable parameters in the context of the function approximation theory. By replacing the classical convolution in CNNs with the structure-aware convolution, Structure-Aware Convolutional Neural Networks (SACNNs) are readily established. Extensive experiments on eleven datasets strongly evidence that SACNNs outperform current models on various machine learning tasks, including image classification and clustering, text categorization, skeleton-based action recognition, molecular activity detection, and taxi flow prediction.