We propose a simplified version of the Kitaev's surface code in which error correction requires only three-qubit parity measurements for Pauli operators XXX and ZZZ. The new code belongs to the class of subsystem stabilizer codes. It inherits many favorable properties of the standard surface code such as encoding of multiple logical qubits on a planar lattice with punctured holes, efficient decoding by either minimum-weight match- ing or renormalization group methods, and high error threshold. The new subsystem surface code (SSC) gives rise to an exactly solvable Hamiltonian with 3-qubit interac- tions, topologically ordered ground state, and a constant energy gap. We construct a local unitary transformation mapping the SSC Hamiltonian to the one of the ordinary surface code thus showing that the two Hamiltonians belong to the same topological class. We describe error correction protocols for the SSC and determine its error thresh- olds under several natural error models. In particular, we show that the SSC has error threshold approximately 0:6% for the standard circuit-based error model studied in the literature. We also consider a model in which three-qubit parity operators can be mea- sured directly. We show that the SSC has error threshold approximately 0:97% in this setting. © Rinton Press.