A Comprehensive Survey on Distributed Training of Graph Neural Networks


Graph neural networks (GNNs) have been demonstrated to be a powerful algorithmic model in broad application fields for their effectiveness in learning over graphs. To scale GNN training up for large-scale and ever-growing graphs, the most promising solution is distributed training which distributes the workload of training across multiple computing nodes. At present, the volume of related research on distributed GNN training is exceptionally vast, accompanied by an extraordinarily rapid pace of publication. Moreover, the approaches reported in these studies exhibit significant divergence. This situation poses a considerable challenge for newcomers, hindering their ability to grasp a comprehensive understanding of the workflows, computational patterns, communication strategies, and optimization techniques employed in distributed GNN training. As a result, there is a pressing need for a survey to provide correct recognition, analysis, and comparisons in this field. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey of distributed GNN training by investigating various optimization techniques used in distributed GNN training. First, distributed GNN training is classified into several categories according to their workflows. In addition, their computational patterns and communication patterns, as well as the optimization techniques proposed by recent work are introduced. Second, the software frameworks and hardware platforms of distributed GNN training are also introduced for a deeper understanding. Third, distributed GNN training is compared with distributed training of deep neural networks, emphasizing the uniqueness of distributed GNN training. Finally, interesting issues and opportunities in this field are discussed.

Proceedings of the IEEE (PIEEE), vol 111, no 12, pp. 1572 -1606, December 2023 (CCF Rank: A)
Shirui Pan
Shirui Pan
Professor | ARC Future Fellow

My research interests include data mining, machine learning, and graph analysis.