Towards Self-Explainable Graph Neural Network

Enyan Dai, Suhang Wang

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

32 Scopus citations


Graph Neural Networks (GNNs), which generalize the deep neural networks to graph-structured data, have achieved great success in modeling graphs. However, as an extension of deep learning for graphs, GNNs lack explainability, which largely limits their adoption in scenarios that demand the transparency of models. Though many efforts are taken to improve the explainability of deep learning, they mainly focus on i.i.d data, which cannot be directly applied to explain the predictions of GNNs because GNNs utilize both node features and graph topology to make predictions. There are only very few work on the explainability of GNNs and they focus on post-hoc explanations. Since post-hoc explanations are not directly obtained from the GNNs, they can be biased and misrepresent the true explanations. Therefore, in this paper, we study a novel problem of self-explainable GNNs which can simultaneously give predictions and explanations. We propose a new framework which can find K-nearest labeled nodes for each unlabeled node to give explainable node classification, where nearest labeled nodes are found by interpretable similarity module in terms of both node similarity and local structure similarity. Extensive experiments on real-world and synthetic datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework for explainable node classification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCIKM 2021 - Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384469
StatePublished - Oct 26 2021
Event30th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, CIKM 2021 - Virtual, Online, Australia
Duration: Nov 1 2021Nov 5 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Proceedings


Conference30th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, CIKM 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Decision Sciences


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