Rethinking Dimensional Rationale in Graph Contrastive Learning from Causal Perspective

AAAI 2024(2024)

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Graph contrastive learning is a general learning paradigm excelling at capturing invariant information from diverse perturbations in graphs. Recent works focus on exploring the structural rationale from graphs, thereby increasing the discriminability of the invariant information. However, such methods may incur in the mis-learning of graph models towards the interpretability of graphs, and thus the learned noisy and task-agnostic information interferes with the prediction of graphs. To this end, with the purpose of exploring the intrinsic rationale of graphs, we accordingly propose to capture the dimensional rationale from graphs, which has not received sufficient attention in the literature. The conducted exploratory experiments attest to the feasibility of the aforementioned roadmap. To elucidate the innate mechanism behind the performance improvement arising from the dimensional rationale, we rethink the dimensional rationale in graph contrastive learning from a causal perspective and further formalize the causality among the variables in the pre-training stage to build the corresponding structural causal model. On the basis of the understanding of the structural causal model, we propose the dimensional rationale-aware graph contrastive learning approach, which introduces a learnable dimensional rationale acquiring network and a redundancy reduction constraint. The learnable dimensional rationale acquiring network is updated by leveraging a bi-level meta-learning technique, and the redundancy reduction constraint disentangles the redundant features through a decorrelation process during learning. Empirically, compared with state-of-the-art methods, our method can yield significant performance boosts on various benchmarks with respect to discriminability and transferability. The code implementation of our method is available at
ML: Unsupervised & Self-Supervised Learning,ML: Graph-based Machine Learning,ML: Causal Learning,ML: Representation Learning
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