Professor McKinley is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft. She holds an Endowed Professorship in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. from Rice University working with Ken Kennedy. Her research interests include programming language implementation, security, and architecture. She and her collaborators have produced tools and research that are in wide industrial and academic use: the DaCapo Java Benchmarks, the TRIPS Compiler, the Hoard memory manager, the MMTk garbage collector toolkit, and the Immix mark-region garbage collector. McKinley has graduated fourteen PhD students and is currently supervising four PhD students.

Her national service includes the DARPA ISAT committee (2012-present), CRA board (2012-present), CRA-Women co-chair (2011-present), and two National Academy Studies. She served as program chair for ASPLOS '04, PACT '05, PLDI '07, ISMM '12, and CGO '13, and as co-Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Programming Language Systems (TOPLAS) (2007-2010). McKinley received an ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award, an NSF CAREER award, five IBM Faculty awards, outreach awards, and best paper awards. Her research has been selected for CACM research highlights, IEEE MICRO Top Picks, and the OOPSLA Test of Time award. She is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Fellow.

Testimony To House Science Committee

On February 14, 2013, Kathryn S. McKinley on behalf of Microsoft testified along with Ed Lazowska (UW) and Kelly Gaither (Texas Advanced Computing Center) to the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Research and Science Education on the topic of innovation in information technology. Her testimony focused on (1) the academic, industry, and government computing research ecosystem that is driving innovation and economic advances in almost all fields; (2) the need for investment in key research areas, such as big data, privacy, secure systems, and computing performance; and (3) the need to increase diversity to drive innovation and expand the pool of US workers to meet computing workforce demands.