Multi-task Self-supervised Graph Neural Networks Enable Stronger Task Generalization

Mingxuan Ju, Tong Zhao, Qianlong Wen, Wenhao Yu, Neil Shah, Yanfang Ye, Chuxu Zhang
Event ICLR 2023
Research Areas Graph Machine Learning

Self-supervised learning (SSL) for graph neural networks (GNNs) has attracted increasing attention from the graph machine learning community in recent years, owing to its capability to learn performant node embeddings without costly label information. One weakness of conventional SSL frameworks for GNNs is that they learn through a single philosophy, such as mutual information maximization or generative reconstruction. When applied to various downstream tasks, these frameworks rarely perform equally well for every task, because one philosophy may not span the extensive knowledge required for all tasks. To enhance the task generalization across tasks, as an important first step forward in exploring fundamental graph models, we introduce PARETOGNN, a multi-task SSL framework for node representation learning over graphs. Specifically, PARETOGNN is self-supervised by manifold pretext tasks observing multiple philosophies. To reconcile different philosophies, we explore a multiple-gradient descent algorithm, such that PARETOGNN actively learns from every pretext task while minimizing potential conflicts. We conduct comprehensive experiments over four downstream tasks (i.e., node classification, node clustering, link prediction, and partition prediction), and our proposal achieves the best overall performance across tasks on 11 widely adopted benchmark datasets. Besides, we observe that learning from multiple philosophies enhances not only the task generalization but also the single task performances, demonstrating that PARETOGNN achieves better task generalization via the disjoint yet complementary knowledge learned from different philosophies. Our code is publicly available at