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Frame Averaging for Invariant and Equivariant Network Design

Omri Puny · Matan Atzmon · Edward Smith · Ishan Misra · Aditya Grover · Heli Ben-Hamu · Yaron Lipman

Keywords: [ expressive power ]

Abstract: Many machine learning tasks involve learning functions that are known to be invariant or equivariant to certain symmetries of the input data. However, it is often challenging to design neural network architectures that respect these symmetries while being expressive and computationally efficient. For example, Euclidean motion invariant/equivariant graph or point cloud neural networks. We introduce Frame Averaging (FA), a highly general purpose and systematic framework for adapting known (backbone) architectures to become invariant or equivariant to new symmetry types. Our framework builds on the well known group averaging operator that guarantees invariance or equivariance but is intractable. In contrast, we observe that for many important classes of symmetries, this operator can be replaced with an averaging operator over a small subset of the group elements, called a frame. We show that averaging over a frame guarantees exact invariance or equivariance while often being much simpler to compute than averaging over the entire group. Furthermore, we prove that FA-based models have maximal expressive power in a broad setting and in general preserve the expressive power of their backbone architectures. Using frame averaging, we propose a new class of universal Graph Neural Networks (GNNs), universal Euclidean motion invariant point cloud networks, and Euclidean motion invariant Message Passing (MP) GNNs. We demonstrate the practical effectiveness of FA on several applications including point cloud normal estimation, beyond $2$-WL graph separation, and $n$-body dynamics prediction, achieving state-of-the-art results in all of these benchmarks.

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