Discretizing spacetime is often a natural step towards modelling physical systems. For quantum systems, if we also demand a strict bound on the speed of information propagation, we get Quantum Cellular Automata (QCAs).
These originally arose as an alternative paradigm for quantum computation, though more recently they have found application in understanding topological phases of matter and have been proposed as models of periodically driven (Floquet) quantum systems, where QCA methods were used to classify their phases.
QCAs have also been used as a natural discretization of quantum field theory, and some interesting examples of QCAs have been introduced that become interacting quantum field theories in the continuum limit.
This review from researchers at Leibniz Universität Hannover and University of Queensland discusses all of these applications, as well as some other interesting results on the structure of quantum cellular automata, including the tensor-network unitary approach, the index theory and higher dimensional classifications of QCAs.