DeepGCNs: Making GCNs Go as Deep as CNNs


Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have been very successful at solving a variety of computer vision tasks such as object classification and detection, semantic segmentation, activity understanding, to name just a few. One key enabling factor for their great performance has been the ability to train very deep CNNs. Despite their huge success in many tasks, CNNs do not work well with non-Euclidean data which is prevalent in many real-world applications. Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) offer an alternative that allows for non-Eucledian data as input to a neural network similar to CNNs. While GCNs already achieve encouraging results, they are currently limited to shallow architectures with 2-4 layers due to vanishing gradients during training. This work transfers concepts such as residual/dense connections and dilated convolutions from CNNs to GCNs in order to successfully train very deep GCNs. We show the benefit of deep GCNs with as many as 112 layers experimentally across various datasets and tasks. Specifically, we achieve state-of-the-art performance in part segmentation and semantic segmentation on point clouds and in node classification of protein functions across biological protein-protein interaction (PPI) graphs. We believe that the insights in this work will open a lot of avenues for future research on GCNs and transfer to further tasks not explored in this work.

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 2019.