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  1. This work provides the first theoretical study on the ability of graph Message Passing Neural Networks (gMPNNs) -- such as Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) -- to perform inductive out-of-distribution (OOD) link prediction tasks, where deployment (test) graph sizes are larger than training graphs. We first prove non-asymptotic bounds showing that link predictors based on permutation-equivariant (structural) node embeddings obtained by gMPNNs can converge to a random guess as test graphs get larger. We then propose a theoretically-sound gMPNN that outputs structural pairwise (2-node) embeddings and prove non-asymptotic bounds showing that, as test graphs grow, these embeddings converge to embeddings of a continuous function that retains its ability to predict links OOD. Empirical results on random graphs show agreement with our theoretical results. 
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  2. Deep learning models tend not to be out-of-distribution robust primarily due to their reliance on spurious features to solve the task. Counterfactual data augmentations provide a general way of (approximately) achieving representations that are counterfactual-invariant to spurious features, a requirement for out-of-distribution (OOD) robustness. In this work, we show that counterfactual data augmentations may not achieve the desired counterfactual-invariance if the augmentation is performed by a context-guessing machine, an abstract machine that guesses the most-likely context of a given input. We theoretically analyze the invariance imposed by such counterfactual data augmentations and describe an exemplar NLP task where counterfactual data augmentation by a context-guessing machine does not lead to robust OOD classifiers. 
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