Zero-One Laws of Graph Neural Networks

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Sam Adam-Day, Iliant, Ismail Ceylan


Graph neural networks (GNNs) are the de facto standard deep learning architectures for machine learning on graphs. This has led to a large body of work analyzing the capabilities and limitations of these models, particularly pertaining to their representation and extrapolation capacity. We offer a novel theoretical perspective on the representation and extrapolation capacity of GNNs, by answering the question: how do GNNs behave as the number of graph nodes become very large? Under mild assumptions, we show that when we draw graphs of increasing size from the Erdős–Rényi model, the probability that such graphs are mapped to a particular output by a class of GNN classifiers tends to either zero or one. This class includes the popular graph convolutional network architecture. The result establishes `zero-one laws' for these GNNs, and analogously to other convergence laws, entails theoretical limitations on their capacity. We empirically verify our results, observing that the theoretical asymptotic limits are evident already on relatively small graphs.