Task-Agnostic Graph Explanations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yaochen Xie, Sumeet Katariya, Xianfeng Tang, Edward Huang, Nikhil Rao, Karthik Subbian, Shuiwang Ji


Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have emerged as powerful tools to encode graph-structured data. Due to their broad applications, there is an increasing need to develop tools to explain how GNNs make decisions given graph-structured data. Existing learning-based GNN explanation approaches are task-specific in training and hence suffer from crucial drawbacks. Specifically, they are incapable of producing explanations for a multitask prediction model with a single explainer. They are also unable to provide explanations in cases where the GNN is trained in a self-supervised manner, and the resulting representations are used in future downstream tasks. To address these limitations, we propose a Task-Agnostic GNN Explainer (TAGE) that is independent of downstream models and trained under self-supervision with no knowledge of downstream tasks. TAGE enables the explanation of GNN embedding models with unseen downstream tasks and allows efficient explanation of multitask models. Our extensive experiments show that TAGE can significantly speed up the explanation efficiency by using the same model to explain predictions for multiple downstream tasks while achieving explanation quality as good as or even better than current state-of-the-art GNN explanation approaches.