NetGAN without GAN: From Random Walks to Low-Rank Approximations

Jul 12, 2020



A graph generative model takes a graph as input and is supposed to generate new graphs that “look like” the input graph. While most classical models focus on few, hand-selected graph statistics and are too simplistic to reproduce real-world graphs, NetGAN recently emerged as an attractive alternative: by training a GAN to learn the random walk distribution of the input graph, the algorithm is able to reproduce a large number of important network patterns simultaneously, without explicitly specifying any of them. In this paper, we investigate the implicit bias of NetGAN. We find that the root of its generalization properties does not lie in the GAN architecture, but in an inconspicuous low-rank approximation of the logits random walk transition matrix. Step by step we can strip NetGAN of all unnecessary parts, including the GAN, and obtain a highly simplified reformulation that achieves comparable generalization results, but is orders of magnitudes faster and easier to adapt. Being much simpler on the conceptual side, we reveal the implicit inductive bias of the algorithm — an important step towards increasing the interpretability, transparency and acceptance of machine learning systems.



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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