Unsupervised Graph Alignment with Wasserstein Distance Discriminator

Ji Gao, Xiao Huang, Jundong Li

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Graph alignment aims to identify node correspondence across multiple graphs, with significant implications in various domains. As supervision information is often not available, unsupervised methods have attracted a surge of research interest recently. Most of existing unsupervised methods assume that corresponding nodes should have similar local structure, which, however, often does not hold. Meanwhile, rich node attributes are often available and have shown to be effective in alleviating the above local topology inconsistency issue. Motivated by the success of graph convolution networks (GCNs) in fusing network and node attributes for various learning tasks, we aim to tackle the graph alignment problem on the basis of GCNs. However, directly grafting GCNs to graph alignment is often infeasible due to multi-faceted challenges. To bridge the gap, we propose a novel unsupervised graph alignment framework WAlign. We first develop a lightweight GCN architecture to capture both local and global graph patterns and their inherent correlations with node attributes. Then we prove that in the embedding space, obtaining optimal alignment results is equivalent to minimizing the Wasserstein distance between embeddings of nodes from different graphs. Towards this, we propose a novel Wasserstein distance discriminator to identify candidate node correspondence pairs for updating node embeddings. The whole process acts like a two-player game, and in the end, we obtain discriminative embeddings that are suitable for the alignment task. Extensive experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets validate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed framework WAlign.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKDD 2021 - Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383325
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021
Event27th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining - Virtual
Duration: 14 Aug 202118 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining


Conference27th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
Abbreviated titleKDD
Internet address


  • graph alignment
  • graph neural networks
  • wasserstein distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems


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