Link Prediction with Non-contrastive Learning

William Shiao, Zhichun Guo, Tong Zhao, Evangelos Papalexakis, Yozen Liu, Neil Shah
Event ICLR 2023
Research Areas Graph Machine Learning

A recent focal area in the space of graph neural networks (GNNs) is graph self-supervised learning (SSL), which aims to derive useful node representations without labeled data. Notably, many state-of-the-art graph SSL methods are contrastive methods, which use a combination of positive and negative samples to learn node representations. Owing to challenges in negative sampling (slowness and model sensitivity), recent literature introduced non-contrastive methods, which instead only use positive samples. Though such methods have shown promising performance in node-level tasks, their suitability for link prediction tasks, which are concerned with predicting link existence between pairs of nodes (and have broad applicability to recommendation systems contexts) is yet unexplored. In this work, we extensively evaluate the performance of existing non-contrastive methods for link prediction in both transductive and inductive settings. While most existing non-contrastive methods perform poorly overall, we find that, surprisingly, BGRL generally performs well in transductive settings. However, it performs poorly in the more realistic inductive settings where the model has to generalize to links to/from unseen nodes. We find that non-contrastive models tend to overfit to the training graph and use this analysis to propose T-BGRL, a novel non-contrastive framework that incorporates cheap corruptions to improve the generalization ability of the model. This simple modification strongly improves inductive performance in 5/6 of our datasets, with up to a 120% improvement in Hits@50–all with comparable speed to other non-contrastive baselines and up to 14x faster than the best-performing contrastive baseline. Our work imparts interesting findings about non-contrastive learning for link prediction and paves the way for future researchers to further expand upon this area.