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Neural Models for Output-Space Invariance in Combinatorial Problems

Yatin Nandwani · Vidit Jain · Mausam . · Parag Singla


Recently many neural models have been proposed to solve combinatorial puzzles by implicitly learning underlying constraints using their solved instances, such as sudoku or graph coloring (GCP). One drawback of the proposed architectures, which are often based on Graph Neural Networks (GNN) (Zhou et al., 2020), is that they cannot generalize across the size of the output space from which variables are assigned a value, for example, set of colors in a GCP, or board-size in sudoku. We call the output space for the variables as ‘value-set’. While many works have demonstrated generalization of GNNs across graph size, there has been no study on how to design a GNN for achieving value-set invariance for problems that come from the same domain. For example, learning to solve 16 x 16 sudoku after being trained on only 9 x 9 sudokus, or coloring a 7 colorable graph after training on 4 colorable graphs. In this work, we propose novel methods to extend GNN based architectures to achieve value-set invariance. Specifically, our model builds on recently proposed Recurrent Relational Networks (RRN) (Palm et al., 2018). Our first approach exploits the graph-size invariance of GNNs by converting a multi-class node classification problem into a binary node classification problem. Our second approach works directly with multiple classes by adding multiple nodes corresponding to the values in the value-set, and then connecting variable nodes to value nodes depending on the problem initialization. Our experimental evaluation on three different combinatorial problems demonstrates that both our models perform well on our novel problem, compared to a generic neural reasoner. Between two of our models, we observe an inherent trade-off: while the binarized model gives better performance when trained on smaller value-sets, multi-valued model is much more memory efficient, resulting in improved performance when trained on larger value-sets, where binarized model fails to train.

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