Counterfactual Learning on Heterogeneous Graphs with Greedy Perturbation

Yang Qiang, Changsheng Ma, Qiannan Zhang, Xin Gao, Chuxu Zhang, Xiangliang Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Due to the growing importance of using graph neural networks in high-stakes applications, there is a pressing need to interpret the predicted results of these models. Existing methods for explanation have mainly focused on generating sub-graphs comprising important edges for a specific prediction. However, these methods face two issues. Firstly, they lack counterfactual validity as removing the subgraph may not affect the prediction, and generating plausible counterfactual examples has not been adequately explored. Secondly, they cannot be extended to heterogeneous graphs as the complex information involved in such graphs increases the difficulty of generating interpretations. This paper proposes a novel counterfactual learning method, named CF-HGExplainer, for heterogeneous graphs. The method incorporates a semantic-aware attentive pooling strategy for the heterogeneous graph classifier and designs a heterogeneous decision boundaries extraction module to find the common logic for similar graphs based on the extracted graph embeddings from the classifier. Additionally, we propose to greedily perturb nodes and edges based on the distribution of node features and edge plausibility to train a neural network for heterogeneous edge weight learning. Extensive experiments on two public academic datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of CF-HGExplainer compared to state-of-the-art methods on the graph classification task and graph interpretation task.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
StatePublished - Aug 4 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-08-07
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1635-01-01
Acknowledgements: This publication is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Research Administration (ORA) under Award No BAS/1/1635-01-01.


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