Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have received considerable attention on graph-structured data learning for a wide variety of tasks. The well-designed propagation mechanism which has been demonstrated effective is the most fundamental part of GNNs. Although most of GNNs basically follow a message passing manner, litter effort has been made to discover and analyze their essential relations. In this paper, we establish a surprising connection between different propagation mechanisms with a unified optimization problem, showing that despite the proliferation of various GNNs, in fact, their proposed propagation mechanisms are the optimal solution optimizing a feature fitting function over a wide class of graph filters with a graph regularization term. Our proposed unified optimization framework, summarizing the commonalities between several of the most representative GNNs, not only provides a macroscopic view on surveying the relations between different GNNs, but also further opens up new opportunities for flexibly designing new GNNs. With the proposed framework, we discover that existing works usually utilize naive graph filters for feature fitting function, and we further develop two novel objective functions considering adjustable low-pass or high-pass graph filters respectively. Moreover, we provide the convergence proofs and expressive power comparisons for the proposed models. Extensive experiments on benchmark datasets clearly show that the proposed GNNs not only outperform the state-of-the-art methods but also have good ability to alleviate over-smoothing, and further verify the feasibility for designing GNNs with our unified optimization framework. Codes and datasets will be publicly available after the review.

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