Quantum R-matrices, the entangling deformations of non-entangling (classical) permutations, provide a distinguished basis in the space of unitary evolutions and, consequently, a natural choice for a minimal set of basic operations (universal gates) for quantum computation. Yet they play a special role in group theory, integrable systems and modern theory of non-perturbative calculations in quantum field and string theory. Despite recent developments in those fields the idea of topological quantum computing and use of R-matrices, in particular, practically reduce to reinterpretation of standard sets of quantum gates, and subsequently algorithms, in terms of available topological ones. In this paper we summarize a modern view on quantum R-matrix calculus and propose to look at the R-matrices acting in the space of irreducible representations, which are unitary for the real-valued couplings in Chern–Simons theory, as the fundamental set of universal gates for topological quantum computer. Such an approach calls for a more thorough investigation of the relation between topological invariants of knots and quantum algorithms.