Unlearning Graph Classifiers with Limited Data Resources

WWW 2023(2023)

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As the demand for user privacy grows, controlled data removal (machine unlearning) is becoming an important feature of machine learning models for data-sensitive Web applications such as social networks and recommender systems. Nevertheless, at this point it is still largely unknown how to perform efficient machine unlearning of graph neural networks (GNNs); this is especially the case when the number of training samples is small, in which case unlearning can seriously compromise the performance of the model. To address this issue, we initiate the study of unlearning the Graph Scattering Transform (GST), a mathematical framework that is efficient, provably stable under feature or graph topology perturbations, and offers graph classification performance comparable to that of GNNs. Our main contribution is the first known nonlinear approximate graph unlearning method based on GSTs. Our second contribution is a theoretical analysis of the computational complexity of the proposed unlearning mechanism, which is hard to replicate for deep neural networks. Our third contribution are extensive simulation results which show that, compared to complete retraining of GNNs after each removal request, the new GST-based approach offers, on average, a 10.38x speed-up and leads to a 2.6% increase in test accuracy during unlearning of 90 out of 100 training graphs from the IMDB dataset (10% training ratio). Our implementation is available online at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7613150.
graph classifiers,limited data resources
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