Extending the Design Space of Graph Neural Networks by Rethinking Folklore Weisfeiler-Lehman

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Jiarui Feng, Lecheng Kong, Hao Liu, Dacheng Tao, Fuhai Li, Muhan Zhang, Yixin Chen


Message passing neural networks (MPNNs) have emerged as the most popular framework of graph neural networks (GNNs) in recent years. However, their expressive power is limited by the 1-dimensional Weisfeiler-Lehman (1-WL) test. Some works are inspired by $k$-WL/FWL (Folklore WL) and design the corresponding neural versions. Despite the high expressive power, there are serious limitations in this line of research. In particular, (1) $k$-WL/FWL requires at least $O(n^k)$ space complexity, which is impractical for large graphs even when $k=3$; (2) The design space of $k$-WL/FWL is rigid, with the only adjustable hyper-parameter being $k$. To tackle the first limitation, we propose an extension, $(k, t)$-FWL. We theoretically prove that even if we fix the space complexity to $O(n^k)$ (for any $k \geq 2$) in $(k, t)$-FWL, we can construct an expressiveness hierarchy up to solving the graph isomorphism problem. To tackle the second problem, we propose $k$-FWL+, which considers any equivariant set as neighbors instead of all nodes, thereby greatly expanding the design space of $k$-FWL. Combining these two modifications results in a flexible and powerful framework $(k, t)$-FWL+. We demonstrate $(k, t)$-FWL+ can implement most existing models with matching expressiveness. We then introduce an instance of $(k,t)$-FWL+ called Neighborhood$^2$-FWL (N$^2$-FWL), which is practically and theoretically sound. We prove that N$^2$-FWL is no less powerful than 3-WL, and can encode many substructures while only requiring $O(n^2)$ space. Finally, we design its neural version named **N$^2$-GNN** and evaluate its performance on various tasks. N$^2$-GNN achieves record-breaking results on ZINC-Subset (**0.059**), outperforming previous SOTA results by 10.6\%. Moreover, N$^2$-GNN achieves new SOTA results on the BREC dataset (**71.8\%**) among all existing high-expressive GNN methods.