Graph Neural Networks for Scalable Radio Resource Management: Architecture Design and Theoretical Analysis

Yifei Shen, Yuanming Shi, Jun Zhang, Khaled B. Letaief

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


Deep learning has recently emerged as a disruptive technology to solve challenging radio resource management problems in wireless networks. However, the neural network architectures adopted by existing works suffer from poor scalability and generalization, and lack of interpretability. A long-standing approach to improve scalability and generalization is to incorporate the structures of the target task into the neural network architecture. In this paper, we propose to apply graph neural networks (GNNs) to solve large-scale radio resource management problems, supported by effective neural network architecture design and theoretical analysis. Specifically, we first demonstrate that radio resource management problems can be formulated as graph optimization problems that enjoy a universal permutation equivariance property. We then identify a family of neural networks, named message passing graph neural networks (MPGNNs). It is demonstrated that they not only satisfy the permutation equivariance property, but also can generalize to large-scale problems, while enjoying a high computational efficiency. For interpretablity and theoretical guarantees, we prove the equivalence between MPGNNs and a family of distributed optimization algorithms, which is then used to analyze the performance and generalization of MPGNN-based methods. Extensive simulations, with power control and beamforming as two examples, demonstrate that the proposed method, trained in an unsupervised manner with unlabeled samples, matches or even outperforms classic optimization-based algorithms without domain-specific knowledge. Remarkably, the proposed method is highly scalable and can solve the beamforming problem in an interference channel with 1000 transceiver pairs within 6 milliseconds on a single GPU.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9252917
Pages (from-to)101-115
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • distributed algorithms
  • graph neural networks
  • permutation equivariance
  • Radio resource management
  • wireless networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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