Floats are strands of yarn that connect two loops located on distant needles. They are also commonly referred to as 'ladders.'
Often, floats are created unintentionally during short rowing when a carrier knits on a certain section of the needle bed, and then skips over some needles in the middle when moving to a different section. Another instance when floats might be created accidentally is when the machine is instructed to knit two consecutive passes with the same carrier in the same direction.
Floats are also intentionally formed for aesthetic purposes, creating ladder stitches, which resemble fishnet.