It is a quotient - of the tensor algebra, obtained by taking graded sum over whole numbers $n$ of $n$-fold tensor products - by the ideal generated by elements of the form $a\otimes a$. We write the residue class of $a\otimes b$ in this algebra, as $a\wedge b$ and call it the wedge product.

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What do we call the result of wedging together the columns of a matrix?

We can wedge together the columns of a square matrix to compute its determinant. More generally, the exterior product of the columns of a $b \times a$ matrix tells us the determinant of each $a \times ...