Inductive Representation Learning in Temporal Networks via Causal Anonymous Walks

Yanbang Wang · Yen-Yu Chang · Yunyu Liu · Jure Leskovec · Pan Li

Keywords: [ network motif ] [ anonymous walk ] [ inductive representation learning ] [ temporal networks ]


Temporal networks serve as abstractions of many real-world dynamic systems. These networks typically evolve according to certain laws, such as the law of triadic closure, which is universal in social networks. Inductive representation learning of temporal networks should be able to capture such laws and further be applied to systems that follow the same laws but have not been unseen during the training stage. Previous works in this area depend on either network node identities or rich edge attributes and typically fail to extract these laws. Here, we propose {\em Causal Anonymous Walks (CAWs)} to inductively represent a temporal network. CAWs are extracted by temporal random walks and work as automatic retrieval of temporal network motifs to represent network dynamics while avoiding the time-consuming selection and counting of those motifs. CAWs adopt a novel anonymization strategy that replaces node identities with the hitting counts of the nodes based on a set of sampled walks to keep the method inductive, and simultaneously establish the correlation between motifs. We further propose a neural-network model CAW-N to encode CAWs, and pair it with a CAW sampling strategy with constant memory and time cost to support online training and inference. CAW-N is evaluated to predict links over 6 real temporal networks and uniformly outperforms previous SOTA methods by averaged 15\% AUC gain in the inductive setting. CAW-N also outperforms previous methods in 5 out of the 6 networks in the transductive setting.

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