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Does your graph need a confidence boost? Convergent boosted smoothing on graphs with tabular node features

Jiuhai Chen · Jonas Mueller · Vassilis N. Ioannidis · Soji Adeshina · Yangkun Wang · Tom Goldstein · David Wipf

Keywords: [ boosting ] [ graph neural network ] [ node classification ] [ tabular data ]


Many practical modeling tasks require making predictions using tabular data composed of heterogeneous feature types (e.g., text-based, categorical, continuous, etc.). In this setting boosted decision trees and related ensembling techniques generally dominate real-world applications involving iid training/test sets. However, when there are relations between samples and the iid assumption is no longer reasonable, it remains unclear how to incorporate these dependencies within existing boosting pipelines. To this end, we propose a generalized framework for combining boosted trees and more general model ensembling techniques, with graph propagation layers that share node/sample information across edges connecting related samples. And unlike previous efforts to integrate graph-based models with boosting, our approach is anchored to a principled meta loss function such that provable convergence can be guaranteed under relatively mild assumptions. Across a variety of benchmarks involving non-iid graph data with tabular node features, our framework achieves comparable or superior performance.

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