Supervised community detection with line graph neural networks

Zhengdao Chen, Joan Bruna, Lisha Li

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Community detection in graphs can be solved via spectral methods or posterior inference under certain probabilistic graphical models. Focusing on random graph families such as the stochastic block model, recent research has unified both approaches and identified both statistical and computational detection thresholds in terms of the signal-to-noise ratio. By recasting community detection as a node-wise classification problem on graphs, we can also study it from a learning perspective. We present a novel family of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) for solving community detection problems in a supervised learning setting. We show that, in a data-driven manner and without access to the underlying generative models, they can match or even surpass the performance of the belief propagation algorithm on binary and multiclass stochastic block models, which is believed to reach the computational threshold in these cases. In particular, we propose to augment GNNs with the non-backtracking operator defined on the line graph of edge adjacencies. The GNNs are achieved good performance on real-world datasets. In addition, we perform the first analysis of the optimization landscape of using (linear) GNNs to solve community detection problems, demonstrating that under certain simplifications and assumptions, the loss value at any local minimum is close to the loss value at the global minimum/minima.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event7th International Conference on Learning Representations, ICLR 2019 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: May 6 2019May 9 2019


Conference7th International Conference on Learning Representations, ICLR 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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