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# GC-Flow: A Graph-Based Flow Network for Effective Clustering

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:36157-36173, 2023.

#### Abstract

Graph convolutional networks (GCNs) are

*discriminative models*that directly model the class posterior $p(y|\mathbf{x})$ for semi-supervised classification of graph data. While being effective, as a representation learning approach, the node representations extracted from a GCN often miss useful information for effective clustering, because the objectives are different. In this work, we design normalizing flows that replace GCN layers, leading to a*generative model*that models both the class conditional likelihood $p(\mathbf{x}|y)$ and the class prior $p(y)$. The resulting neural network, GC-Flow, retains the graph convolution operations while being equipped with a Gaussian mixture representation space. It enjoys two benefits: it not only maintains the predictive power of GCN, but also produces well-separated clusters, due to the structuring of the representation space. We demonstrate these benefits on a variety of benchmark data sets. Moreover, we show that additional parameterization, such as that on the adjacency matrix used for graph convolutions, yields additional improvement in clustering.