Slow Learning and Fast Inference: Efficient Graph Similarity Computation via Knowledge Distillation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

Bibtex Paper Reviews And Public Comment »


Can Qin, Handong Zhao, Lichen Wang, Huan Wang, Yulun Zhang, Yun Fu


Graph Similarity Computation (GSC) is essential to wide-ranging graph applications such as retrieval, plagiarism/anomaly detection, etc. The exact computation of graph similarity, e.g., Graph Edit Distance (GED), is an NP-hard problem that cannot be exactly solved within an adequate time given large graphs. Thanks to the strong representation power of graph neural network (GNN), a variety of GNN-based inexact methods emerged. To capture the subtle difference across graphs, the key success is designing the dense interaction with features fusion at the early stage, which, however, is a trade-off between speed and accuracy. For slow learning of graph similarity, this paper proposes a novel early-fusion approach by designing a co-attention-based feature fusion network on multilevel GNN features. To further improve the speed without much accuracy drop, we introduce an efficient GSC solution by distilling the knowledge from the slow early-fusion model to the student one for fast inference. Such a student model also enables the offline collection of individual graph embeddings, speeding up the inference time in orders. To address the instability through knowledge transfer, we decompose the dynamic joint embedding into the static pseudo individual ones for precise teacher-student alignment. The experimental analysis on the real-world datasets demonstrates the superiority of our approach over the state-of-the-art methods on both accuracy and efficiency. Particularly, we speed up the prior art by more than 10x on the benchmark AIDS data.