Evaluating Deep Graph Neural Networks

2 Aug 2021  ·  Wentao Zhang, Zeang Sheng, Yuezihan Jiang, Yikuan Xia, Jun Gao, Zhi Yang, Bin Cui ·

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have already been widely applied in various graph mining tasks. However, they suffer from the shallow architecture issue, which is the key impediment that hinders the model performance improvement. Although several relevant approaches have been proposed, none of the existing studies provides an in-depth understanding of the root causes of performance degradation in deep GNNs. In this paper, we conduct the first systematic experimental evaluation to present the fundamental limitations of shallow architectures. Based on the experimental results, we answer the following two essential questions: (1) what actually leads to the compromised performance of deep GNNs; (2) when we need and how to build deep GNNs. The answers to the above questions provide empirical insights and guidelines for researchers to design deep and well-performed GNNs. To show the effectiveness of our proposed guidelines, we present Deep Graph Multi-Layer Perceptron (DGMLP), a powerful approach (a paradigm in its own right) that helps guide deep GNN designs. Experimental results demonstrate three advantages of DGMLP: 1) high accuracy -- it achieves state-of-the-art node classification performance on various datasets; 2) high flexibility -- it can flexibly choose different propagation and transformation depths according to graph size and sparsity; 3) high scalability and efficiency -- it supports fast training on large-scale graphs. Our code is available in https://github.com/zwt233/DGMLP.

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