Is Heterophily A Real Nightmare For Graph Neural Networks Performing Node Classification?

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) extend basic Neural Networks (NNs) by using the graph structures based on the relational inductive bias (homophily assumption). Though GNNs are believed to outperform NNs in real-world tasks, performance advantages of GNNs over graph-agnostic NNs seem not generally satisfactory. Heterophily has been considered as a main cause and numerous works have been put forward to address it. In this paper, we first show that not all cases of heterophily are harmful for GNNs with aggregation operation. Then, we propose new metrics based on a similarity matrix which considers the influence of graph structure and input features on GNNs. The metrics demonstrate advantages over the commonly used homophily metrics by tests on synthetic graphs. From the metrics and the observations, we find some cases of harmful heterophily can be addressed by diversification operation. With this fact and knowledge of filterbanks, we propose the Adaptive Channel Mixing (ACM) framework to adaptively exploit aggregation, diversification and identity operations in each GNN layer to address harmful heterophily. We validate the ACM-augmented baselines with 11 real-world node classification tasks. They consistently achieve significant performance gain and exceed the state-of-the-art GNNs on most of the tasks without incurring significant computational burden.

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